Brodziak, Glencross have built solid NHL careers
Steve MacFarlane, QMI Agency
Both of them have come a long way from their time together on the Edmonton Oilers' fourth line five years ago.
Kyle Brodziak has found a home with the Minnesota Wild. Curtis Glencross is a huge part of the Calgary Flames. â¨And both of them say they could see this sort of success in each other's future after clicking together in Edmonton following Glencross' trade to the Oilers from the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2007-08 NHL season.
They'll face off Thursday night against each other when the Flames visit the Minnesota Wild (6 p.m., Sportsnet West/Sportsnet 960).
"He's a fast guy. It seemed every time I got the puck in the middle, I'd look to the left and find him," said Brodziak, who's having a career year offensively with the Wild and has signed a three-year contract extension. "He'd be streaking down, beat the d-man and score a goal-scorer's goal. It's unreal how fast he is and how relentless on the forecheck he is. He's a fun guy to play with.
"Playing with him, I knew he had game in him. He's proved it the last couple of years." â¨The 27-year-old from St. Paul, Alta., wasn't sure Glencross would say the same. â¨"Probably that he carried me around during that stretch," Brodziak laughed when asked what Glencross would suggest he saw in his former centre. "Hopefully, good things."
The praise is pretty high. â¨"He reminded me of kind of a younger Craig Conroy or someone like that," said Glencross, who inked a long-term deal with the Flames last summer. "I think Brodie's got a little better shot than Connie did.
"It's the same kind of leader. He's good to be around." â¨And he can play. â¨With 19 goals and 39 points heading into Thursday night's game against the Flames, Brodziak has already posted career-highs in goals and points. He's capable of playing in every situation and has had to with the Wild struggling through injuries all year.
Although his icetime has been much higher than the fourth-line minutes he received years ago with the Oilers, Brodziak's success now is largely due to the lessons he learned from those couple of months with Glencross on his flank.
"We definitely found our confidence a bit there. For me, personally, I've just trying to get back to that level. It's something I've been working on every year," said Brodziak, admitting that back then he wasn't sure if it would be a day-to-day or month-to-month job in the NHL.
"It was like that at that point in our careers. You don't know really how long you're gonna be there. If you're gonna be able to stay there.
"Hopefully, we've proven to be NHL players now. â¨"(Glencross has) definitely found his niche in Calgary. He's been playing well for a long time there. It's good for him. I'm happy to see him do well."
The feeling is mutual. â¨Brodziak was the Oilers' seventh-round pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Glencross wasn't even drafted, signing with the Anaheim Ducks as a free agent out of the University of Alaska-Anchorage in 2004.
"Brodie was kind of the same as me. We plugged away in the minors for a few years and bounced around," Glencross said. â¨"(That year in Edmonton) was kind of a step forward for both of us. â¨"I'm happy for Brodie. We've both got our spots now." â¨email@example.com â¨
On Twitter: @SUNMacfarlane