Former Maple Leafs prospect signs his first NHL deal with a heated rival

Dean Chaudhry
February 19, 2024  (1:56 PM)

Ex-Leafs prospect Justin Brazeau
Photo credit: NHL

The NHL is the top league on the planet when it comes to hockey, so when prospects wind up with an organization, there's a lot of competition and no guarantees when it comes to earning an NHL contract.

The Boston Bruins announced late last night that they had signed forward Justin Brazeau to a 2-year, 2-way contract after a terrific season in the AHL for the Providence Bruins. If that name seems familiar to you, it should. Brazeau is a former Maple Leafs prospect.
The 26-year-old undrafted right-winger had racked up 18 goals and 37 points through 49 games and with the big club placing forward Oskar Steen on waivers, it seems that his hard work has finally paid off. Brazeau improved mightily in the OHL for the North Bay Battalion as he went from 22 goals and 37 points in 67 games during the 2016-17 season to 39 goals and 75 points the following season before finishing off with 61 goals and 113 points in 2018-19. He then signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization in 2019-20 where he played in 1 game for the Toronto Marlies but tallied 27 goals and 55 points in 57 games for the Newfoundland Growlers of the ECHL.
He stuck around with the Marlies for one more season in 2020-21 where he accrued just 4 goals and 5 points in 21 games. He wound up signing with the Bruins' AHL affiliate ahead of the 2021-22 season, during which he improved vastly with 31 points in 51 games at the AHL-level and an additional 20 points in 18 games in the ECHL.
Brazeau has only gotten better with time as he hit a career-high 16 goals and 45 points last year for Providence and was well on pace this season to shatter those numbers. Almost immediately after Steen was placed on waivers, the Bruins made the move to sign the 6'5 winger, and he is making his NHL debut today against the Dallas Stars.
A boon for the club is that although he's 26-years-old, because this is his first NHL contract, he is automatically waiver exempt for the rest of the season, essentially allowing the Bruins to move him between Boston and Providence at will without having to worry about waivers.
It's been a long-time coming for Brazeau, but his hard work has definitely paid off in a big way as he looks to claw his way into the Bruins' bottom-6. Congratulations to Justin on his new contract.
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Former Maple Leafs prospect signs his first NHL deal with a heated rival

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