TORONTO– David Broll was drafted by the Maple Leafs in 2011 because of his size and toughness. Simply put, he was a Brian Burke type player.
At 18-years-old, he was already 6-foot-3, pushing 225-pounds and coming off a season where he fought 11 times. To prove to the Leafs that he had the grit they wanted, he even dropped the gloves with fellow prospect Tyler Biggs off the opening face-off at 2012 rookie camp.
However, now that his junior career is over and he’s ready to turn pro, it’s evident that he can do more than just act as an enforcer.
“He’s got a real underrated skill set,” said Marlies head coach Steve Spott, who coached against Broll in the OHL. “Having coached against him, I don’t think people give him enough credit for how skilled he is. Obviously he brings a physical element, but he can score, create offence and is big on the puck.”
Broll scored a career-high 17 goals and 54 points in 67 games last season with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, which aren’t numbers that necessarily stood out amongst players his age. But he did play a large part for the club defensively, took on a leadership role as well and increased his value to the club.
“Going back to junior this year was a great boost for me,” said Broll. I got to play a lot of minutes, including the penalty kill, and I set some good marks for myself.”
Now 20-years-old, Broll is pushing close to 240-pounds and still believes his fighting ability is a must-have to make it to the NHL, especially in a Randy Carlyle environment. Combining his toughness with skill, he says, is the key to taking his career to the top level.
“Carlyle likes the physical play, but he likes players who can defend and bring some offence as well so you need the whole package,” said Broll.
Broll has spent his summer training at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto, with next season set in mind.
It’s expected that the Mississauga native will start the year in the AHL with the Marlies along with four others from his draft class. He will be one of many rookies on a young squad, which means competition for playing time will be intense.
“Showing the coach you can come out and compete in every game is what I have to do,” said Broll.
Broll was the final forward selected by Toronto in 2011 as he went sixth round, 158th overall . Other players from his draft expected to play for the Marlies are Biggs (22), Stuart Percy (25), Josh Leivo (86) and goaltender Garret Sparks (190).