There isn’t a ton that has to be said about David Broll. He was officially the first Laval Rocket player in history when he signed a contract extension last year while playing in St. John’s. He’s an AHL veteran who is there to help keep an eye on the younger players, and be a person that’s always willing to help out in the community surrounding the team. Off the ice, by all accounts he seems like one of the nicest players around. On the ice is a different story.
Broll has one role, he gets on the ice, and tries to destroy anything not wearing a Laval sweater that happens to be in his way. He’s a big guy, and he uses that frame to battle hard along the boards for pucks or to throw himself into monstrous hits. He’ll defend his teammates without hesitation and that’s endeared him to his coach, and many of the fans in the stands on a nightly basis.
At his best, he’s playing a game of controlled aggression, picking his spots to throw a check well, and disrupting opposing players while on the forecheck. He’s not meant to pile up goals and points, but he’s shown before that when he’s called upon to do so he can, assuming that’s his focus. Much like last year, he got some power play time to be a heavy, big body in front of the net and actually showed decent hands for a player of his ilk in deflecting pucks. His production was never going to be high, but he was never meant to be forced into a top six role like he was this year due to injury.
Luc-Olivier Blain finishes off a great pass by...— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 11, 2018
Rocket lead 2-0! pic.twitter.com/50T0D7LvU8
When he’s at his best for the Rocket he is generating shots, and somehow showing off a little playmaking finesse. However those moments were few and far between this year.
The issue with Broll isn’t that he’s not trying to do what is asked of him, it’s that he doesn’t seem to have an off switch when he gets going. Reckless penalties, due to seemingly always trying to get something going ended up hurting his team more often than not.
I have absolutely no idea what David Broll was trying to accomplish here, besides take a penalty pic.twitter.com/qXApHIKCk6— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) December 9, 2017
With the Rocket penalty kill being as big of a mess as it was, Broll’s poor timing on trying to get under opponents skin often backfired quite a bit. Playing with an edge is fine, if you know when to try and toe that line. Constantly shoving people after whistles and generating a reputation as a disturber of the peace on the ice doesn’t do a team any favours.
As stated above, Broll is by all accounts one of the nicest guys in Laval, but the role he plays doesn’t fit the modern hockey game. I’m all for standing up for your teammates and playing physical hockey, but you have to be able to play a regular shift outside of that role as well. His speed can’t keep up with most players, which leads to stick infraction penalties, or something similar. In short, the Rocket were hoping he’d be something similar to Bobby Farnham last year, but with him playing far above his weight class that was nothing more than wishful thinking.