Big-bodied goal scorer, middle-six upside. On an AHL contract, meaning he is an NHL UFA.
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May 2021 – With the ECHL Growlers shut down for the season, players like Brazeau had to rotate in and out of the AHL Marlies lineup, adding an extra challenge towards achieving consistent production. The big forward didn’t hit that mark this year, managing a total of 4 goals and 1 assist in 21 contests. Now listed at 241 pounds (!) he is noticeable on the ice and certainly makes the opposition slow down before engaging behind the net or in the corners. That being said, he doesn’t spend enough time around the crease as he should and despite being a goal-heavy player statistically, his shot volume (just over 1/game) is simply not dangerous. His skating continues to be a work in progress, and if he can become at least refined enough to move more creatively (less predictably for goalies) in the offensive zone there may be power forward potential beneath the rough. Hayden Soboleski
November 2020 – Brazeau has spent the pandemic break in Toronto working with team staff and Leafs teammates to improve his skating and use of his big body. He is a good bet to see some AHL time in 2021 after a promising pro debut in the ECHL last season. Former Leafs prospect Mason Marchment worked his way from being an ECHLer to a bubble NHLer in about 3 years (and is still on the bubble) – this is a reasonable timeline comparable for Brazeau. Hayden Soboleski
May 2020 – Despite spending the entire season in the ECHL, Brazeau’s campaign wasn’t a lost one. He proved he could translate his over-age OHL goal-scoring to the pros, leading the Growlers with 27 goals in 55 contests. He belongs to the Marlies or Growlers for the 2020-21 season, hopefully playing more for the former. Still not fantasy-worthy until he spends significant time in the AHL and earns an NHL ELC (as opposed to his current minors deal. Hayden Soboleski
October 2019 – Brazeau will begin the 2019-20 campaign in the ECHL. It may not be exactly what the OHL stand-out expected when he signed with the organization, but the Leafs’ and Marlies’ depth means that he has to earn every minute. Don’t expect any fantasy-relevance in the short term, but his upside remains very high if he proves himself. Hayden Soboleski
September 2019 – Brazeau has been assigned to Marlies training camp. His current contract will only allow him to play in the AHL, but given the Leafs’ well-documented cap crunch, every prospect has as good of a chance as ever to earn a roster spot on a cheap deal. He clearly has a ways to climb up the depth chart, especially with the many bubble-player signings this off-season, so don’t expect his status to change in the near future. Hayden Soboleski
April 2019 – Toronto has signed OHL free agent Justin Brazeau to a two-year AHL contract. He was arguably the top player available to be signed out of the league after posting 61 goals and 113 points in 68 games. This 21-year-old campaign was a career-high by far, but he did score over a point-per-game in the season prior as well.
At 6’6″ and 225 lbs, Brazeau is physically prepared for the pros. That being said, he did go undrafted twice, in part because of his skating ability. Luckily, the Maple Leafs boast an impressive development program, which can surely turn a 113-point-scorer into a prospect with real NHL fantasy upside. Hayden Soboleski