After three successful seasons at St. Cloud State, Los Angeles Kings‘ prospect Jonny Brodzinski has taken the next step in his career. This season, he is suiting up for the Ontario Reign in what is his first year as a pro. But for those expecting immediate results, they will have to be patient.
His upside includes a scoring prowess that saw him notch 20-plus goals in each of his three collegiate seasons, which is no small feat. However, one area of concern for Brodzinski has been his inconsistency. When motivated, Brodzinski has proven that he can be a difference-maker but ineffective when he isn’t. After 18 games, Brodzinski has just one goal and two assists for the Reign — although his lone goal came just this past Sunday. Still, it isn’t time to even think about the existence of a panic button, let alone pressing it.
Mike O’Connell, the Kings’ Senior Advisor and Development Coach, isn’t worried about Brodzinski’s progress thus far. In fact, O’Connell likes what he sees.
“So far, so good,” O’Connell said. “It always takes some time to find the daily rhythm of pro life. He is right on schedule. After Christmas, we will have a better idea on what he will become.
“Becoming consistent is a habit that takes time to develop.”
Recently, Brodzinski spent some time playing on Ontario’s top line. Of course, while that is a compliment to the 22-year-old, head coach Mike Stothers believes that his top-liners are no more integral to his team’s success than his fourth-liners. So, while Stothers has the confidence to play Brodzinski on the top line, he has just as much faith in his rookie if he were playing on the third or fourth line.
“Brodzinski has been playing all over for us and we try to avoid numbering our lines,” Stothers said. “All four of our lines on a given night can play, and every individual we have dressed is capable of playing on all lines. Sometimes you change things up on a hunch that a grouping will have success together.”
As for what Brodzinski brings to the table, Stothers knows what the native of Blaine, Minn., boasts to help continue the Reign’s success.
“Brods is a shooter and can release a puck as quick as anyone,” Stothers stated. “It’s only a matter of time before he is filling the net. He reads the game well and he understands the game so he is a good complement for whoever he plays with.”
Taken by the Kings in the fifth-round in 2013, Jonny Brodzinski is just one of many examples of (Kings’ GM) Dean Lombardi‘s strong draft record, and for good reason. In fact, while he is just starting his first year as a pro, Brodzinski’s place is all but determined when he does make the jump to join the Kings.
“We feel he is a winger,” Emerson told Hoven, despite the youngster being listed as a center upon being drafted. “He has the ability to get open, put pucks on the net, and let the centerman find him.”
Emerson even mentioned that Kings’ Development Consultant Glen Murray — a former NHL goal-scorer himself — was excited about Brodzinski, especially his “elite-level release” which resulted in 64 goals over the course of his three-year career at St. Cloud State. In fact, his 0.53 goals-per-game has put the former Husky in third-place on the school’s all-time list and first in all-time shots-per-game with 3.56.
While he hasn’t gotten into a scoring groove just yet in Ontario, many believe the wait will be worth it once Brodzinski does start lighting the lamp on a regular basis. With his aforementioned skills in addition to coming from a hockey family, Jonny Brodzinski certainly has what it takes not only be a full-time NHLer one day but to be a staple in the future success of the Los Angeles Kings.
For the six-foot, 202-pounder, patience is key and once that virtue is mastered, the rest will be, as they say, history.