The Boston Bruins continued their search for diamonds in the roughs as they signed free agent winger Justin Brazeau to a minor league contract. Mark Divver of the New England Hockey Journal reported the news first on Wednesday.
Justin Brazeau to Providence on AHL/ECHL contract. Hulking winger was big scorer as OHL overager in 2019, but skating's been his shortcoming. 4 goals in 21 games for Toronto Marlies last season
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) August 25, 2021
When Divver says hulking, he ain’t kidding! The undrafted Brazeau is 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, and in his last season in the Ontario Hockey League as an over-ager for the North Bay Battalion, Brazeau was a force to be reckoned with. In the 2018-19 OHL season, Brazeau scored 61 goals to go with 52 assists. That was after a 2017-18 season in which he lit the lamp 39 times and had 36 helpers. Prior to the 2019-20 season, Brazeau signed a minor league deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs and continued to shine with their ECHL club, the Newfoundland Growlers where he scored 27 goals and 28 assists. In a shortened season (due to COVID restrictions) in 2021, Brazeau scored four goals and had one assist in 21 games.
The new Player Development Coordinator and former Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid will work closely with new Providence Bruins head coach Ryan Mougenel to develop Brazeau. When McQuaid has patrolled the Boston Bruins blue line, he was a brute, physical force, and one of the best fighters in the NHL. While Brazeau isn’t a defenseman, but a winger, the Bruins are surely hoping McQuaid’s grit rubs off on Brazeau.
The Bruins are clearly thinking that Brazeau could become the next Brady Lyle, the defenseman the Bruins first signed to a one-year AHL contract in April 2020 and just about a year later inked him to a well-earned two-year entry-level contract. If Brazeau can develop into a menacing, hard skating power forward in the Bruins minor league system, he could be on the same path as Lyle.