P-Bruins Sign Justin Brazeau

Forward Justin Brazeau of the North Bay Battalion. Photo courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images

Mark Divver broke the news on Twitter last night – the Providence Bruins signed forward Justin Brazeau to an AHL deal. By the way, if you don’t already follow Mark on Twitter, may I suggest you do? He’s a top-notch Providence Bruins resource as well as College Hockey.  

Brazeau spent four seasons with the North Bay Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League from 2015 to 2019. After going undrafted while putting up some decent statistics, he had a major breakout campaign in is final, over-age year scoring 61 times and adding 52 helpers in 68 games.

As a 6’6” winger who led the OHL in goals and finished second in points (Jason Robertson – 117) there was plenty of attention given to Brazeau that included your Boston Bruins. I remember vividly some Bruins fans wanting him signed.

However, it was the Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs affiliate) who won the “sweepstakes”. The Marlies signed Brazeau to a 2-year contract that would pay him $70,000 per season with a $60,000 signing bonus in each season.

Brazeau spent the first year of his deal with the Newfoundland Growlers (Toronto’s ECHL affiliate). In 57 games he scored 27 goals and 28 assists. He got a cup of coffee with the Marlies in year one.

Last season – the pandemic season – he appeared in 21 AHL games and scored 4 goals and 5 points. How much the pandemic season played a role will be left up to you to decide.

The knock on Brazeau has always been and continues to be his skating. In today’s game he is just to slow footed. Give credit where credit is due however. Brazeau has worked on his first few strides and there has been some improvement there. But he continues to lack any speed when at top flight and there is no separation gear whatsoever.

Brazeau has tremendous reach, and though he can’t beat defenders one-on-one with his skating, it’s hard to take the puck away from him because of that reach. And if one attempts to physically knock him off of the puck, well you might have better luck running into a tree.

I am all for giving prospects a chance and will cheer them on, but I am setting my expectations low and hope that Brazeau can prove doubters wrong.

But I will add this (and this is strictly opinion): If Divver’s tweet is correct and this is a two-way AHL deal (AHL/ECHL), a) I am going to assume that there weren’t many offers out there for Brazeau to mull over and b) the Bruins weren’t confident enough to give him an AHL deal only.

Published by Dominic Tiano

Following the Ontario Hockey League players eligible for the NHL Draft. I provide season-long stats, updates and player profiles as well as draft rankings.

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