Weight: 156 Pounds
Date of birth: September 9, 2002
Hometown: Tilbury, Ontario
OHL Draft: Round 6, 114th overall, 2018 Priority Selection
NHL Central Scouting Rankings
The first thing some of you may be asking yourselves is why we are discussing a goaltender here that National Hockey League Central Scouting has not had ranked all season? Well, we can answer that with three words: He should be.
While we initially missed the boat here at OHLW in the preseason, it didn’t take long for us to have him as a player to watch. But first, a little Bio.
During the 2018-2019 season, Brochu manned the crease for the Dresden Jr Kings of the Provincial Junior Hockey League where he comfortably led the league in games played (38) and wins (27). He posted a 2.46 goals-against-average and a .915 save-percentage. Brochu was even better through 11 playoff contests posting a 2.10 goals-against-average and .931 save-percentage.
Brochu was listed in the Ontario Hockey League’s Draft Guide as 5’ 7.5” and at just 131 pounds for the 2018 Priority Selection, but the Knights saw something there and the rest as they say, is history.
With a September 9, 2002 birthdate, Brochu is one of the youngest players in the 2020 NHL draft class, having made the cut off date by just 6 days. So, just what has Brochu accomplished in a season to garner interest?
The OHL rookie appeared in 42 games for the Knights when the season was cancelled due to the coronavirus and that ranked 7th among netminders and tied for first among rookie netminders with North Bay’s Joe Vrbetic. Brochu led all netminders with a 2.40 goals-against-average and second behind the top ranked Guelph netminder Nico Daws with a .924 save-percentage. He also finished second with wins – 32 in 42 appearances, finishing the season with a 32-6-0-0 record. The 32 victories is an OHL record for rookies that has stood for 39 years.
So, what exactly is the knock on Brochu? The only conclusion we have is that Central Scouting continues to have a bias towards bigger goaltenders. Whether that’s right or wrong is up for NHL scouts to decide come draft day. The Nashville Predators appear to have done okay with the 5’11” Juuse Saros for example.
Sure, one could make the argument that the Knights are a sound defensive team with a lot of offense. But consider this: Brochu was 16-1-0-0 when facing 29 or more shots, and the Knights were outshot in 9 of those contests. Take the Sudbury Wolves as an example. Their offense was just as dynamic as the Knights. Yet Brochu was 2-0-0-0 versus the Wolves stopping 57 of 58 shots and in the game the Knights were outshot, he shut them out. All those numbers mean is that Brochu was just as important to the Knights as any other aspect of their team. For a team that had more questions then answers in the crease when the season began, I’m sure Brochu gave the Knights even more then they expected
Brochu is a netminder that possesses superb agility and movement in the crease. He gets out to the top of the blue paint in a flash to challenge shooters. He also gets into position quickly to make second and even third chance stops. He tracks the puck extremely well and never gives up on a play. In that sense, there are a lot of similarities to former Windsor Spitfires netminder Michael DiPietro. Watch the video below of his first career shutout versus the high-flying Ottawa 67’s to get a sense of his puck tracking abilities and how he recovers for second and third chances.
Brochu is as technically sound as any netminder available in the draft class. He plays the butterfly style to perfection and is able to get on his knees quickly and recovers just as quick. He rarely overplays a situation and lets trusts his positioning and allows the puck to hit him. His quickness and athleticism allow him to pounce on loose pucks in front of the paint. And we think his puck handling abilities are also superb.
All we can add is that we don’t believe NHL teams should pass on this kid because of his size.