So, what's the catch?
For some reason, the Washington Capitals didn't find the means to retain Joel Broda
, their 2008 fifth round pick, making him eligible in the June Draft. The Minnesota Wild didn't use a pick on him, but saw an opportunity, and swooped in to invite Broda to this week's Development Camp. After one day on the ice, Broda signed a three-year entry level contract with the Wild.
An examination of Broda's stats makes one wonder, "how does this happen?"
As a 20-year-old member of the WHL's Calgary Hitmen last season, Broda led the team in goals with 39, and added 34 assists in 66 games. He also led the League with 23 power play goals.
So his production must have dropped off in the playoffs when it really counted?
Well, not really. Broda led the WHL with 13 postseason goals while helping the Hitmen to the WHL title and an appearance in the prestigious Memorial Cup.
Was his 2009-10 season a flash in the pan?
No go on that idea either. In his prior WHL season, Broda split the season between Moose Jaw and Calgary. He produced an eye-popping 53 goals and 87 points in 67 games, topping the League in markers and finishing eighth in scoring.
"He's a pure goal scorer," said Calgary teammate and fellow Development Camp prospect, Kris Foucault. "He's got one of the hardest shots and the quickest release in the Western Hockey League. He's a good two-way player that can put the puck in the net."
So is he 5-foot-2, 140 bills? Actually, he's 6-foot-1, 203 pounds. Apparently, the knock on Broda is his speed, but there are some players in the NHL that aren't exactly fleet of foot. The Wild has one already, and he wears #15. A lack of speed didn't deter him from putting up big offensive numbers in the NHL.
"He's a big, strong kid, and he really shoots the puck and goes to the dirty areas," said Wild Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr. "He has areas to improve - skating speed and quickness - but he seems to be a kid that really works on his game. He's done just fine so far this week."
Broda, who is among 36 players at the Development camp, including Caglary teammate and fellow Wild prospect, Kris Foucault, doesn't know why things didn't work out with Washington. He's just happy he's now with the Wild.
"I had some options in Europe, but I was really looking to do an NHL deal," said Broda after Wednesday's skate. "We started talking to the Wild about a deal, and I couldn't be happier now that it's done."
So why did the Caps not want to bring back a potential goal filler?
"Washington probably had a number of contracts and they couldn't come to an agreement," explained Flahr. "We had him on our draft list and decided to go with a younger guy, and then see if we could go after him as a free agent."
With his junior career over, Broda will start his professional career with the Houston Aeros this fall. He's excited about being able to team up with players he's getting to know this week.
"It's great getting to know the young guys," he said. "But it's also great for getting to know the staff, the building and the whole city really. I couldn't be more impressed with the whole organization. It seems like a great place to play."