FlamesNation chats with Laurent Brossoit

Ryan Pike
July 17 2012 01:22PM

 

 

A few years ago, you could be forgiven if you followed hockey but didn't know who Laurent Brossoit was. A product of Surrey, British Columbia, he toiled as a back-up to Edmonton Oil Kings starter Jon Groenheyde during the 2010-11 season. He posted respectable numbers and was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the sixth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Then Brossoit became the Oil Kings starter upon Groenheyde's departure to Swift Current and he back-stopped his club to a WHL championship and a Memorial Cup appearance. He posted a 42-13-5 record and radically improved his goals against average and save percentage in his first season as a full-time WHL starter, all developments that made the Flames scouting staff look really, really smart.

While in Calgary for Flames development camp, Brossoit took the time to discuss his progress with FlamesNation's Ryan Pike.

Ryan Pike: First question...how do you pronounce your last name?

Laurent Brossoit: Bross-Wah

RP: Is it weird to be a Flames prospect playing for the Edmonton Oil Kings?

LB: For me it's not weird, no. I grew up watching all the Canadian teams. I'm honoured to play for this team. It's more weird for all the fans in Edmonton and even my billet family and all my friends in Edmonton. They always give me a hard time whenever I bring it up, so it's more weird for them than me.

RP: You were the Oil Kings' back-up when you were drafted, and you became the starter last season and won more games than you played the year before. What was the biggest change?

LB: Mostly it's the experience. Obviously, I didn't have the greatest year my draft year, I faced a lot of adversity. I didn't face a lot of it growing up, so it was nice to see some of that and go through the tough times and to really learn who I am and what I'm expecting of myself on the ice. I kind of found my game and showed them some success this year.

RP: What was it like suddenly being the go-to guy for the Oil Kings in net?

LB: It was awesome. You always want to be that guy. You always have your doubts after a year like I had, and I was able to excel and give the team confidence. Like, for example, have the D jump up in a rush and be confident that their goalie is going to be able to make a save if they make a mistake. So I'm happy that I was able to give our team the confidence and give our team some momentum shifts in games, and I'm happy where our team is at right now.

RP: When I spoke with Justin Goldman of the Goalie Guild in the winter, he called you “a steal” of a pick going in the sixth round of the draft. Does it motivate you to continue to improve when people talk about your potential like that?

LB: Absolutely. Obviously, you want to go as high as you can, but at the same time I wasn't too worried about it. I was always told that the draft means a lot less than you'd think. I was happy to just be drafted and especially to such a great organization, and I didn't really care when I went, especially going in the sixth round, it made me want to prove to people that I was a steal and that I was worth more than a sixth round pick. I'm happy and flattered that people are saying that, but I'm hoping that I'm going to keep excelling and be even more successful than I have.

 

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Now in his third full season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#1 Bean-counting cowboy
July 17 2012, 03:09PM
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Brossoit aside, recent picks like Gaudreau, Jankowski and even Baertschi to some extent have got me thinking about the Flames strategy going forward. These are all picks that had high potential but were also not slam dunks (ie risky) You could lump a few other recent draft picks in that category also.

I think I am coming to grasp with the "plan" Feaster & co. claim they have in place. Obviously the plan does not include tearing down giving recent UFA signings and an unwillingness to move the big 2 franchise players.

Although I disagree with that mantra, it seems to me the Flames are looking at picks that have scoring line potential ready in about 3 or more years. I am becoming more comfortable with the idea that once Iggy, tangs, cammi, etc are gone/useless in 3 or 4 years, the recent picks are on a time frame to step in & take over immediately.

It seems we are staying the course for now & making high risk/reward type moves that will hopefully pay off at the time of Iggy & others retirement. "remaining competitive, while still building for the future". Perhaps not the best way to build a winner but if the high risk moves pay off it may mean we have something to cheer about year in and year out. I'm OK with this vs. taking the sure pick of Faska or Girgensons with max 2nd line potential, even though they will be likely in the NHL sooner.

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#2 ALL THE WAY IN
July 17 2012, 01:44PM
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Another thoroughbred in the stable! It's finally exciting to follow our junior prospects.

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#3 BurningSensation
July 17 2012, 04:02PM
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@Bean-counting cowboy:"Perhaps not the best way to build a winner but if the high risk moves pay off it may mean we have something to cheer about year in and year out."

Why is this not the best way to build a winner? For every tear down that works (Pitt) there are several that don't (Clb, Fla, etc.)

Feaster has addressed the gaping chest wound this organization has had for almost 20 years - sucking at the draft. By doing so he has reset the organization in the right way.

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#4 Kent Wilson
July 17 2012, 05:14PM
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@BurningSensation

I would say we need to hold off on declaring the Flames drafting suddenly fixed. At this point, we really don't know anything about the kids who have been picked by this regime. And after doing this for many years, I've come to realize that there is always a large amount of interest and optimism in guys immediately after they're picked and maybe for a year or two after.

Then they hit the pros and reality smacks optimism in the face (in all but a few, very rare cases).

I've mostly liked what I've seen so far too, but we'll have to wait a few seasons before we know anything for sure.

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#5 DangleSnipeCelly
July 17 2012, 05:49PM
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I agree with Cowboy's sentiment that everything seems to be geared towards three years (ish) from now. I get that feeling a lot lately as well... If (and i know its a BIG if) most of these guys work out I can see Jankowski hitting the NHL at 20 after fattening up for a few years - Gaudreau the same thing at age 21... Sven will have a few years under his belt by then and hopefully Ferland and Reinhart etc have found full time roles with the Flames.

I see Feaster trading Jbo which will effectively cut the legs out from under the Flames this year while appeasing the casual fan for the short term... bring in a cheaper top four D-man and a solid prospect. Then trade Kipper at the deadline and hit the 2013 draft with a mitt full of picks...

Maybe not Feasters plan but it's mine! Rebuild is on whether anyone likes it or not. When your two best players are on the downward side of their career, every second that ticks off the clock is a second closer to rebuilding...it's inevitable as I think Kent has mentioned here before.

I say by this time next year our cupboards are fully stocked as far as prospects go. I just pray we're not sitting in 9th come trade deadline day...

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#6 NHL93
July 18 2012, 12:54AM
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Though it may take 5 years to really see if the 'draft philosophy' is working, it is nice to see a variety in what the team is drafting. No more farm-boys with a bottom-six upside. The team seems to draft kids who can skate and think at a high level.

As far as the goalies, I feel we had our hopes pinned on Irving forever because of what wasn't in our system. Now we've got a more broad selection goalie options for the future.

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#7 BurningSensation
July 18 2012, 11:08AM
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Bean-counting cowboy wrote:

@ burning sensation

I included the word "perhaps", meaning I feel it is unproven. I've seen the tear down rebuild work in some cases, but can't quite recall seeing what Calgary is doing by any other teams

I am coming around more and more to what is being done. I like the drafting strategy, looking to the US school system, KHL, etc however one thing I do not agree with is keeping the big 2, age being the primary factor.

I want the Flames to be a consistent cup contender. Keeping the vets till they retire will continually breed mediocrity. They will be gone one day, no matter what. I think we could get decent pieces for Kipper & Iggy - small step back the next few years for a more promising future.

Detroit, Philly, Boston, SJ, etc are all teams that consistently rebuild without 'bottoming out' first.

Keeping vets is not a problem, Alfredsson in Ott, Lidstrom in Detroit (and before himYzerman), etc. Keeping your good older vets simply isn't a barrier to retooling a team. There are a couple of keys for keeping these vets;

- They should be 'lifers', embedded in the community, devoted to the team, good guys, etc. (see: Shane Doan)

- they should be productive despite their age

- it dowsn't hurt if they are captain

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#8 Bean-counting cowboy
July 17 2012, 04:24PM
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@ burning sensation

I included the word "perhaps", meaning I feel it is unproven. I've seen the tear down rebuild work in some cases, but can't quite recall seeing what Calgary is doing by any other teams

I am coming around more and more to what is being done. I like the drafting strategy, looking to the US school system, KHL, etc however one thing I do not agree with is keeping the big 2, age being the primary factor.

I want the Flames to be a consistent cup contender. Keeping the vets till they retire will continually breed mediocrity. They will be gone one day, no matter what. I think we could get decent pieces for Kipper & Iggy - small step back the next few years for a more promising future.

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#9 Shredder
July 17 2012, 04:38PM
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I've seen Bross Wah play live a few times, and while I'm not a good judge of goalies, he seemed STELLAR. My guess is he's going to be the next goalie stud for Calgary, unless they pick up a vet in the mean time. I would not be surprised to see him make the WJC squad.

The crazy thing is there will be very few departures from his team next year, so he's got a good shot to go to the Memorial Cup once more...especially since the biggest challenge to the Oil Kings was the Winterhawks who will be losing a very significant amount of their talent: Baetschi, Niedereiter, Johnson (gone already), and then Rattie and Morrow the next year.

I don't know how it's possible for Bross Wah to pick up a lot more wins, so even if he gets better, are we likely to see huge improvements in stats? Probably not next year...maybe with advanced metrics, but again, I'm not a judge of goalie talent.

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#10 BurningSensation
July 18 2012, 10:58AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I would say we need to hold off on declaring the Flames drafting suddenly fixed. At this point, we really don't know anything about the kids who have been picked by this regime. And after doing this for many years, I've come to realize that there is always a large amount of interest and optimism in guys immediately after they're picked and maybe for a year or two after.

Then they hit the pros and reality smacks optimism in the face (in all but a few, very rare cases).

I've mostly liked what I've seen so far too, but we'll have to wait a few seasons before we know anything for sure.

I'd say there are a number of metrics which might show the drafting issues the Flames have had have been 'fixed'.

To make this case we need to first identify what was broken about the Flames philosophy at the draft. While the problems at the draft go back decades, the prior regime had some very specific problems;

- Heavy emphasis on WHL 'backyard' players.

- No Russians policy

- Size over speed/skill

- de-emphasis on draft as talent pipeline (picks frequently traded away in deals for 'vets')

- drafting for need rather than BPA

- review the number of times a player was taken in advance of where Central Scouting had them ranked. Sutter routinely drafted guys well in advance of where they were ranked (reach!). Other than Jankowski, Feaster routinely picks guys, especially in late rounds, well after CS thinks they should have gone.

Now there are other issues you could add, but I think those are the lowlights.

How can we asses Feaster's changes;

- number of Flames prospects that make WJC teams

- Desjardins NHLE

- number of picks per draft vs previous regime (Feaster already has as many 2nd rnd picks as Sutter made in his whole tenure).

- the devoted fan 'smell test' (non-scientific). Take the best four picks Feaster has made (Baertschi, Gaudreau, Brossoit, Granlund) and compare them to the best four picks of Sutter's regime(Phaneuf, Backlund,.....Moss?), which group 'smells' better to you?

That all said, you are correct that my saying our draft issues are 'fixed' is declaring victory prematurely, but I sure approve of the changes I can see so far.

So far Feaster passes my 'smell test'.

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