The Toronto Maple Leafs are reportedly interested in North Bay Battalion forward Justin Brazeau, who finished second in OHL scoring this season.
Brazeau, 21, is wrapping up his final season in the Ontario Hockey League. He was a 13th-round pick of the Battalion in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection. He put in the work and was able to gain a spot on North Bay’s team for the 2015-16 campaign, finishing with just 13 points in 65 games.
However, with each passing year playing under legendary coach Stan Butler, Brazeau’s production climbed. He would post new career highs of 35 and 75 points over the next two seasons, respectively.
The 6-foot-6, 225 pounder has dominated the OHL this season. He finished the year second in league scoring with 113 points, 61 of which were goals — the best mark by far in 2018-19 — and was also named the Battalion’s captain.
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Despite his large frame, Brazeau exhibits a soft touch around the net as well as a great shot. He’s more of a meat and potatoes player, leaving the flash to others.
However, he’s money around the net. He converted on 17 of 65 high-danger shots (26.1 percent) and 16 of 52 mid-danger opportunities (30.77 percent) this year, according to Prospect Stats.
Brazeau’s 95 primary points this season was not only the best total in the OHL but the entire Canadian Hockey League. He averaged 1.39 primary points per game.
Dreger speculated that teams will be looking to ink Brazeau to a tryout contract, and with the winger in his final OHL season, there’s a chance he could ink a deal and play with an AHL team to end the year. He could, however, opt to wait until the summer to sign.
North Bay has managed to secure the seventh spot in the OHL’s Eastern Conference. Unfortunately they could be bounced early, as they’ll meet up with the Niagara IceDogs in the first round.
If the first round is as far as the Battalion go, then Brazeau will able to hit the open market in the next few weeks.
Brazeau is the biggest commodity still available among undrafted free agents. His production this year will have teams jumping at the chance to add him.