by Mike Ries, Staff Writer, AHL Report

David Broll (Photo by Amy Johnson | Rocket Sports Media)

With the nickname “Brolldozer”, standing at 6-feet-3-inches and a solid 235 pounds, David Broll has had a defined role every stop in his hockey career. Broll is a premiere enforcer who does not have an extreme number of penalty minutes (PIM) on his resume. Broll recorded 120 PIM in 2012-’13 with the Toronto Marlies, the high point in his career so far.

Broll was signed by the St. John’s IceCaps to an AHL standard player’s contract this season after attending training camp on a professional try out (PTO.) Broll has been a pleasant surprise for the St. John’s IceCaps contributing in all areas of the game. Considering that the IceCaps have a big team and play a heavy style, Broll has been relatively free to display his hockey skill. This season, Broll ranks second on the team in penalty minutes with 65.

Players such as Bobby Farnham, Stefan Matteau, Jeremy Gregoire, and most recently Yannick Veilleux have filled the same role that Broll has filled in the past. The reason for the IceCaps having a heavy team is twofold. The parent club has been in search of bigger forwards with skill for years. This frees up space for the smaller skilled forwards that the IceCaps also have an abundance of, and they are higher on the Montreal depth chart.

It’s important to acknowledge that Broll has had to adapt to the league’s new rules on fighting this season. Let’s take a look courtesy of the AHL’s press release on the changes:

Rule 46 (“Fighting”)/Rule 23 (“Game Misconducts”)

  • Players who enter into a fight prior to, at, or immediately following the drop of the puck for a faceoff will be assessed an automatic game misconduct in addition to other penalties assessed.
  • During the regular season, any player who incurs his 10th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for one (1) game. For each subsequent fighting major up to 13, the player shall also be suspended automatically for one (1) game.
  • During the regular season, any player who incurs his 14th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for two (2) games. For each subsequent fighting major, the player shall also be suspended automatically for two (2) games.
  • In any instance where the opposing player was assessed an instigator penalty, the fighting major shall not count towards the player’s total for this rule.

My colleagues, Amy Johnson and Rick Stephens, have covered each one of Broll’s 29-games this season, many in person. They report that, far from being a one-dimensional player, David Broll has the skating ability, size, strength and grit to contribute in a number of ways. There is no doubt that Broll can bring energy to a bottom-six role and create open ice for his linemates.

But Broll has also chipped in offensively with a goal and an assist in two recent games on the road in Utica. Primarily paired with Mark MacMillan, the two, along with wingers such as Gregoire, Farnham and Veilleux, have been effective forecheckers and been defensively responsible. During the current road trip, Broll also received shifts on the second wave of the power-play, using his size to create havoc in front of the net.

In my opinion, on more than one occasion, Broll has been the best player on the ice for St. John’s early this season. He has tallied three goals and two assist for five points, however there’s more to this athlete than just numbers on a stat sheet. Broll may not be known as a traditional goal scorer, but he is becoming a good two-way forward as his defensive game improves. There’s no question that Broll is being trusted by the coaching staff in an expanded role.

Broll has been a true fan favourite from his days with the Soo Greyhounds and Erie Otters of the OHL, to his AHL career with the Toronto Marlies and Syracuse Crunch. He has quickly done the same with IceCaps this season. Additionally, Broll is an influence in the dressing room. Although there are a number of players on the team that are willing to drop the gloves, he is the number one guy to protect his teammates. Broll is quick to defend his peers, and seems to enjoy playing a mentor’s role off the ice.

At 23-years-old, Broll has carved out an important role for himself with the St. John’s IceCaps. His team-first attitude, his work ethic and his willingness to adapt has made him a valuable piece of the puzzle to this year’s edition of the IceCaps.

David Broll (Photo by Rick Stephens | Rocket Sports Media)

Listen below to full audio from our exclusive interviews with David Broll after a game against the Rochester Americans earlier this season and more recently, against the Utica Comets:

David Broll | Post-game: St. John’s IceCaps vs Rochester Americans (November 18, 2016)

David Broll | Post-game: St. John’s IceCaps vs Utica Comets (December 30, 2016)