NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. _ Anthony Brodeur is the son of one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history, but the 21-year-old didn’t start his hockey life in the crease.
The oldest son of Martin Brodeur, the NHL’s all-time regular season wins and shutouts leader, was actually a forward before he finally strapped on the pads at about age nine.
“I didn’t really want to take them off after that so I just kept going from there,” he said.
“Must’ve just been something in my genetics I guess,” he added with a heavy laugh. “No, just the position, just everything about it kind of fell in love with it and never wanted to stop with it.”
A former seventh round draft pick of the New Jersey Devils, Brodeur is now trying to latch on with Toronto. The Maple Leafs are led by Lou Lamoriello, the general manager who drafted both him and his father into the NHL.
Brodeur is one of five goaltenders on hand for a week-long development camp held this week in Niagara Falls, Ont.
“I’m going to take a tryout from an NHL team any day,” Brodeur said after the first day of on-ice workouts.
The junior Brodeur resembles his father, though he sports scruffy facial hair in contrast to his usually clean-shaven dad. At five foot 11 and slightly under 200 pounds, he’s also slightly smaller in stature.
Brodeur says he and his dad talk often about goaltending, not so much the technical side of the position but rather the sometimes gruelling mental side of it.
Brodeur calls his dad after every game.
“It’s an instinctive position to an extent,” Brodeur says. “(He) tries to get me to realize that you know what, you’ve just got to stop the puck, whatever you can just keep it out of the net.”
Brodeur had his best success in doing so last season.
Playing for the Penticton Vees, Brodeur led the BCHL with 28 wins and finished second with a 1.99 goals against average and .931 save percentage.
He’s not the only prospect at Toronto’s camp with a father who played in the NHL.
Mason Marchment is the son of heavy-hitting defenceman Bryan Marchment, who played for the Oilers, Sharks and Jets, among others, in a lengthy NHL career. Leaf prospects William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen are also the sons of former NHL players.
Brodeur only remembers the later years of his father’s career, mostly the Devils 2012 run to the Stanley Cup final when he was a teenager. Besides his dad, the younger Brodeur idolized former Devils sharpshooter Ilya Kovalchuk and former captain Zach Parise.
A year after the Devils were defeated in the Cup final by Los Angeles, Lamoriello gave the senior Brodeur the privilege of announcing his son’s selection with the 208th overall pick at the 2013 draft in Newark.
Anthony Brodeur’s brother, Jeremy, has also followed father’s footsteps, playing 54 games last season the OHL’s Oshawa Generals.
While his dad boasts records galore in the NHL, including the most wins in a season (a mark matched by Braden Holtby this past year), the younger Brodeur is just looking for another opportunity, and perhaps a longer look from Lamoriello’s Leafs. It’s not uncommon for prospect to turn the week-long camp into a tryout at training camp and eventually, if all goes well, a contract of some kind.
Toronto just traded for its future No. 1 netminder, Frederik Andersen, and has two young goaltenders in their minor league ranks, Garret Sparks and Antoine Bibeau.
“I’m really excited to be here, just to learn,” Brodeur said. “It’s a learning opportunity, try to develop myself to get better.”