While Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish may have solidified the team’s goalie depth in the NHL for the upcoming season by bringing in a tandem of Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth, one of his bigger moves for that position may have been trading for 21-year-old Laurent Brossoit.
The goalie is coming off of a solid season in the ECHL with the Bakersfield Condors. Brossoit played 35 games there, posting a 2.14 goals-against average, a record of 24-9-2 and a .923 save percentage. He had six shutouts. The goalie prospect also played three games with the Alaska Aces before being traded to Edmonton, two of those games resulted in zeroes in the opponent’s score column.
“I think I developed the most I’ve ever developed in the span of one season,” Brossoit said at Rexall Place on Thursday. “Experiencing everything that I did goes without saying. I’m excited and I’ve never been as confident as a goaltender. I’m just ready to go and get on the ice.”
The success Brossoit enjoyed came in the face of adversity. The season was full of it, with the trade in November and the movement between cities and leagues as he played for four teams in that timespan and was even called up to the NHL to serve as backup for a few short days.
Despite the tumultuous twists and turns of the season that was, Brossoit endured and even thrived.
“Anytime you find yourself facing adversity with playing on so many different teams in different leagues, then going up and down, the hotels and having to battle a lot but at the same time having success, it’s learning what you need to do to have success no matter what the circumstance is. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned and it’s a huge part of the game too. For me, that’s probably what the biggest part was.”
Brossoit was once again solid in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, leading the Condors all the way to Game Six of the Western Conference Finals. An elimination at the hands of the Alaska Aces spoiled a playoff run in which Brossoit finished with a 2.27 GAA and .921 save percentage. He blanked the opposition three times.
The young netminder saw great strides in his own game and gives thanks to the ECHL for that. By becoming the workhorse goaltender for the Condors, Brossoit was able to gain momentum and build success.
“For a goalie, you’ve just got to play. The East Coast League isn’t what it was a long time ago. It’s gotten a lot better. For me, just to be able to get to go out there on the ice during a game is when you develop. I don’t care how much you practice, you can get better but it’s trying to deal with the mental side of how to deal with playing in pressure situations, pressure games, playoff games and all of that. That’s why I was so happy to go down and play 95% of the games.”
His development is something the Oilers brass is surely watching closely. The greatest area of improvement for Brossoit is with his confidence and understanding that sometimes it’s better to just take it easy.
“I simplified my game. I used to think that the harder I worked and the harder I moved, the harder it is to score on me. But I’ve kind of learned through all of the goalie coaches I’ve been fortunate enough to have been coached by that I am big enough so the less I do is more. The more positionally sound I am and the more calm, cool and collected I am the harder it will be to beat me.”
Some expect Brossoit to be an important piece to the Oilers future. He’s a piece the club can shape into whatever they want and that’s something that hasn’t passed him by.
“I think about it all of the time. It’s so exciting to be that guy that’s kind of the age where I am the next guy to come up and be someone who they can look forward to seeing and to develop themselves rather than sign a guy, bring him over and hope he does the job. It’s nice to be in the organization and have them show me the ropes and develop me as they want.”
Brossoit, along with 28 other players and prospects, will represent the Oilers at this weekend’s Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C. It’s another chance for the organization to get a look at a player who could eventually make an impact.