Huskies’ sniper Brodzinski developing a more complete game

By DJ Powers

Jonny Brodzinski - St. Cloud State University

Photo: St. Cloud State University forward and Los Angeles Kings prospect Jonny Brodzinski led the Huskies in scoring for the 2013-14 season with 41 points in 38 games (courtesy of St. Cloud State)

St. Cloud State University sophomore Jonny Brodzinski may not have led his team in goals this season as he did in 2012-13 – senior and fellow Los Angeles Kings prospect Nic Dowd earned the honor this season with 22 markers. But Brodzinski traded the goal-scoring crown to instead finish as the Huskies leading scorer with 41 points (21 goals, 20 assists) in 38 games.

For his offensive exploits, Brodzinski was named an All-NCHC honorable mention. But the Blaine, MN native isn't strictly an offensive player these days as he has grown into a more complete player during the 2013-14 season.

Hockey’s Future caught up with Jonny Brodzinski after practice on Friday at the NCAA Tournament’s West Regional at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN.

Q: You were part of last year’s Frozen Four team. What have you and the rest of the team learned from that experience that will better prepare you for what lies ahead, especially if the team returns to the Frozen Four this year?

JB: I think the biggest thing is our confidence, for sure. We’ve been there before, so it’s just a job really. We know what it takes and we’re not taking anything or anyone for granted. We know that Notre Dame is a good team and it’s going to be a battle tomorrow night.

Q: One possibility here in this regional that could potentially happen is meeting your brother in the championship game.

JB: That would certainly be a lot of fun, but right now we’re just focusing on Notre Dame.

Q: Having watched your development over the course of this season, I’ve noticed that you’ve been focusing more on becoming a complete player with your defensive side improving, etc. And you’ve been doing that while still scoring a lot of goals. How has that been reflected in your role this season?

JB: With losing some of our top guys from last year, I’ve had to assume more of a leadership role this year. This summer, I really worked on my play in the defensive zone and the neutral zone and really tightening up in those areas so that I could become more of a complete player, as you said, and help our team anyway that I can.

Q: Do you feel that your defensive side is one of, if not the greatest, area that you’ve developed the most?

JB: Oh, for sure. I think that and my overall skating ability, as well. I feel that my speed has really picked up in the last couple of years, too.

Q: I know that you’re property of the Los Angeles Kings. Did you attend their prospects camp last summer?

JB: Yes, I did.

Q: What was the experience like for you and what were some of the things that you learned that you’ve been able to bring to St. Cloud State this year?

JB: There was so much that I was able to bring back. That whole camp went from 6 AM to 6 PM and was just high intensity the entire time. We did different stick handling drills and different puck handling drills. There was also this boxing class that we had to take as well. It covered every aspect of your game. The Kings would also give us stuff to take home that we could work on the rest of the summer and the rest of the year, as well. I have nothing but positive things about the camp. I had a great time.

Q: What was perhaps the one thing more than anything else that you got out of the camp that enabled you to take that next step in your development?

JB: There were two things. I’d say that the puck protection drills and the quick shot drills really helped me. They would have you do a lot of these passes with your backhand and then do forehand shots and just stuff like that. That’s something that I worked on a lot in the summer and still do.

Q: Are you planning to be at their camp again this summer?

JB: Yes

Q: The fact that Nic (Dowd) and Kevin (Gravel) are also Kings prospects as well has to be a bonus for you since they’re your current teammates that could also potentially be your teammates down the road at the pro level.

JB: Exactly. Just being able to go into that (Kings) camp with them was pretty special, but I also knew some of the other guys that were there as well, so that gave me that comfort level. It also made it easy for me to just transition into it.

Follow DJ Powers on Twitter via @DJPowersHF