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Brouillette. His name is Julien Brouillette.
Nobody called his name in the NHL draft. While most players would give up at that point, Brouillette did not. He instead entered the 2007-2008 season as a pro in the ECHL with the Columbia Inferno, the ECHL affiliate for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The defenseman tallied six goals and 11 assists in 67 games. After just one season, Brouillette signed for two seasons with Charlotte Checkers, who are also an ECHL team. He had two of the most productive seasons of his career in Charlotte, recording 24 goals and 38 assists in 117 games. Both seasons saw early exits for his Checkers.
But Brouillette was ready for bigger and better things in his hockey career. It was time for some AHL hockey. After briefly stopping in Providence to suit up for the Bruins for three games, he made his way to Hartford to play for the Wolf Pack for the 2009-2010 season. He played 21 games, recording a goal and three assists.
But his AHL stay didn’t last long. He went back to the ECHL, this time with the Greenville Road Warriors, the ECHL affiliate for the New York Rangers for 2010-2011 season. He dressed 25 times, scored 11 goals and 12 assists, then moved up to the AHL Charlotte Checkers for one game (Since his last time he played for the Charlotte Checkers in 2009-2010, they were promoted to the the AHL in the 2010-2011 season).
Isn’t this getting so confusing? Believe me, it’s not over.
After the one game with the Charlotte Checkers, he was loaned over to the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters, the AHL affiliate for the Colorado Avalanche. He played 49 games, had two goals and 15 assists. He was then returned back to the Checkers, who sent him to the Road Warriors, where he played one playoff game.
Phew. Still not done.
He then signed a one-year contract to play with the Hershey Bears (Those are our guys!). He played in 74 games in the 2011-2012 season, recording seven goals and 14 assists. He then began the 2012-2013 season on the Reading Royals (Our guys again!) due to the lockout. He played one game, Hershey realized they missed him, and he came right back up to play for the Bears. He played in 61 games, scored two goals and helped people score their goals five times.
I mean, this guys frequent flyer miles must be through the roof.
Now, this year, he’s played in 29 games for the Bears, getting nine goals and five assists. He ranks first among Hershey defenseman in goals.
But, on February 6th, 2014, Julien Brouillette finally got the call to play in the NHL.
His NHL career started out pretty well. He recorded 18 shifts for 15:02 minutes. And while he played very well defensively, he also found himself in the scoring department. On Tom Wilson’s second goal of his career, Brouillette blasted the puck from the blue line. The shot went wide of the net, but perfectly rebounded right in front of the crease on Wilson’s stick. Wilson buried the shot, tying the game up for the Capitals.
“It felt good,” Brouillette said. “I think we played pretty well, the team played pretty well. There’s some nerve, but once the first shift was in the book, I think it was fine.”
Not only did Brouillette get the thrill of playing in his first ever NHL game and his first NHL point, but it was all in front of Secretary of State John Kerry. Brouillette got to meet Kerry before the game.
“Yeah, I shook his hand.” Brouillette said. “He went around the room. It was pretty nice.”
So, while Brouillette has moved all around the country playing minor league hockey, maybe he has finally found a home in Washington.