On Thursday, St. John’s IceCaps general manager Marc Bergevin announced that the team signed defenceman Julien Brouillette to a professional tryout (PTO) contract.
Brouillette has briefly played for the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets in the NHL, but is primarily a depth player with the majority of his time split between the AHL and the ECHL. Last season he captained Karlskrona HK of the Swedish Hockey League. The team finished at the bottom of the standings, but was able to avoid relegation to the second-tier Allsvenskan.
He began the 2016-17 season in the Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey, a Quebec-based lower-level professional hockey league.
With the recall of Joel Hanley to the Montreal Canadiens to act as a seventh defenceman until Zach Redmond returns from injury, the IceCaps are thin on scoring defencemen, as after Marc Barberio there is little production from the blue line. Hanley was the second-best option in that category, with Philip Samuelsson and Ryan Johnston having a slow start to the season. Hopefully the arrival of Brouillette will help to shoulder some of the burden.
This move means that the IceCaps now have three defencemen signed to AHL deals, the others being Josiah Didier and Jeremie Blain, highlighting a depth issue on defence in the organization presently. For a team that could count on 15 defencemen last season to play in the NHL, and still have some to spare, the Canadiens only have 15 defenceman total this season under an NHL contract, including Dalton Thrower who unfortunately seems to be heading towards the end of his tenure in the organization.