Broll's a double threat

DOUG GRAHAM, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:17 PM ET

Erie Otters winger David Broll is a switch hitter when it comes to sports.

Broll, 17, can bat pucks in and bounce bodies around on the rink.

On the diamond, he was a power slugger at the plate and could pitch, catch or play first base.

A budding NHL prospect according to Erie general manager Sherry Bassin, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Broll excelled in rep baseball back at home in Mississauga.

But Broll put baseball on the back-burner entering his OHL draft year in 2009.

"I wanted to focus on hockey first because I thought my better opportunity was in hockey," Broll said.

"I miss parts of baseball. I met a lot of friends through baseball."

Ironically one of those friends, Kingston native Kris Grant, is now a rookie defenceman with the Otters. The two have been brought together again through a common sport.

"We're not sure when we played each other (in baseball) but we must have because we were in a lot of the same places," Broll said of Grant, who also was a catcher in Ontario Baseball Association play.

Besides the support of parents John and Carla, Broll does have a big fan fairly close by. Older brother John Broll is at Genesee Community College in Batavia, N.Y., a two-hour trip to the north-east. John Broll, who also played some hockey in Mississauga, is a catcher for the Division II Cougars.

Bassin, who has a soft spot for baseball because he played the sport in his youth, hasn't seen Broll play baseball. He heard about his ball feats, though.

"I talked to some people who picked him up for a tournament. He hit .500 for them. David's hand-eye co-ordination is very good," Bassin said.

Broll said he actually hit higher at one tournament, going for 11-for-14 and whacking a home run for a midget team after taking a year off from the sport.

"I hadn't swung a bat or played in over a year so I told them I didn't know how I would be but it worked out pretty well," said Broll, who played at the national peewee baseball championship in Victoria, B.C., when he was younger.

Hockey, however, is the game that is going to take Broll to the pros in Bassin's eyes.

"David has a bright future and the reason is because the curve for him is going nothing but upward," Bassin said.

"He is a big strong kid with a good shot. He's got good inside toughness, very good good hands and works hard at his game. He's going to be a very good NHL prospect."

The Otters selected Broll off the Toronto Young Nationals with their first pick (10th overall) in the 2009 OHL priority selection.

Bassin, while following Broll with the Young Nationals, never really felt the big kid was allowed to put his real game on display.

"It was tough for him to play his real game because he was so big," Bassin said. "When he ran into players, it was almost like he was getting penalized for being a big guy."

Broll, who had nine goals and 18 points in his rookie season, is hoping to put up 60 points in his sophomore season. He has six points in eight games to start the season. However, Bassin looks past the stats when assessing Broll.

"It's his work ethic," Bassin said. "He works the corner and he works the front of the net. (NHL) people are going to want him."

Broll said Erie has been a very good place for him.

"I love it here. We have a great group of guys. Sherry Bassin and the coaches make sure you are looked after." Broll said.

As far as baseball goes he will watch some of the Fall Classic games, but that's about it.

AROUND THE OHL

The league needs to change the way it determines goaltending losses. A good example of how unfair the present method is nearly came about in Kingston's 8-7 overtime win over Oshawa Friday night. The Frontenacs chased Generals starter Michael Zador after he allowed six goals and left with his team down 6-2. Kevin Bailie came on and was much better as Oshawa rallied to tie it at 7-7 and go to overtime. Bailie took the shootout loss. The method is flawed, however, if for example the Generals rallied only to lose 7-6. Bailie, who gave up just one goal in regulation, would have been saddled with the loss, because Oshawa had covered the six goals Zador gave up. That isn't right.

THE BOOK ON ...

ETHAN WEREK, C, KINGSTON FRONTENACS

The New York Rangers took a long look at prospect Ethan Werek before sending him back to junior for his final season.

The Rangers like the fact Werek gets to the tough scoring areas and has success there. Werek, after missing Kingston's first couple games, has scored in five straight games for the Frontenacs.

Strengths: Plays to his size (6-foot-2, 188 pounds) and is a high-traffic presence. Great wrist shot and isn't readable for goaltenders because he will shoot from anywhere. Tends to score big goals.

Weaknesses: Somewhat of a choppy skating style but also deceptive. Distribution of the puck lacking at times, which can make him a hard player to fit with linemates.

doug.graham@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos