by Bill Ballou || AHL On The Beat Archive
For Worcester Sharks forward Brodie Reid, there is a substantial difference between seasons played and games played. During his rookie and sophomore years in the American Hockey League, Reid had to battle through a succession of injuries. Not only did they limit his playing time, they also seemed to happen just when he was on the verge of getting his career on track.
“One thing you have to remember,” said Worcester general manager Joe Will, “is that with Brodie signing so young, this year would be his fourth year of college hockey if he’d stayed there. His (right) shoulder has been bothering him a long time and the injuries have limited him in his first two seasons. He’s got the equivalent of about one full season under his belt — so he’s probably more like a second-year pro than a third-year pro.
“Every player is different, and we think he’s still on track.”
Enough on track so that after Reid’s initial two-year contract expired, San Jose brought him back for another season, re-signing him to a one-year deal in July.
Spending three seasons in the same place is a record for Reid.
Reid, who is from suburban Vancouver, played junior hockey for the Surrey Eagles of the British Columbia Hockey League in 2005-06 and 2006-07. He was still in the BCHL in 2007-08 but with Burnaby. Next year, it was Penticton of the BCHL and after that it was on to Lincoln, Neb., and the USHL, the idea being that a year there would get him ready for the level of competition in Hockey East.
So, after a year among the wheat fields, Reid enrolled at Northeastern University and skated one season there before turning pro with Worcester. It was that one year with Northeastern that established Reid as someone the Sharks were interested in.
“He had a good season at Northeastern,” scouting director Tim Burke said, “and he was really, really good in the second half of that season. He’s a scorer — he’s got a good shot and he has that ability to find places to score from. Now the game has changed a little, and there is no such thing as an ugly goal or a garbage goal. You just have to score and the ‘peel off’ goal scorer is hard to find.
“So, he’ll have to be able to adapt to that.”
During his one winter with the Huskies, Reid was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie team and was Northeastern’s top scoring rookie. In his first season in the American Hockey League, Reid’s youth and inexperience showed and he really didn’t find a rhythm until the beginning of March. When he did, he suffered a concussion, ending the year for him.
“It was a big adjustment going from college to this level,” he said, “and it took me a while to get comfortable with it. The first part of the season, I spent a lot of nights going over things in my head. Then, I think the last 10 or 15 games, my game was finally getting to where I wanted it to be.”
Reid began the 2013-14 season skating on the right wing of Worcester’s No. 1 line. It had veteran Bracken Kearns in the middle and the AHL Sharks’ most gifted offensive player, Danill Tarasov, on the left. Skating with those two, Reid led the team in shots on goal and averaged about a point a game in the early going, most of them assists.
“It’s nice to get the points,” Reid said, “but I know that my job is to score goals. It’s a matter of finishing opportunties, concentrating, bearing down more when I get my chances.”
It should help that his right shoulder is finally healthy.
It cost Reid a total of 38 games in 2012-13. He originally injured it in a pre-season game and was out of action from Oct. 12 through Nov. 15, missing the season’s first 15 games. When Reid finally returned to action, he had a lot of stored up energy and it showed. He scored 13 points in his first 16 games back.
While he cooled off a bit after the first of the year, Reid still had 21 points in 28 games played by the end of January.
The end of January wound up being the end of his season, for all intents and purposes. Reid was pointless in the first three games of February and then was sidelined with a concussion.
Late in a game at Providence on March 1, Reid took a faceoff and immediately curled up in pain. His right shoulder had become dislocated again, and his season was over. A few days later that month, Reid had season-ending surgery to tighten up that balky shoulder.
“The surgery went well,” he said. “It feels fine; it’s good, now. For a couple of years there, it was pretty loose.”
“I think that Brodie’s shoulder wasn’t right for quite a while, not at 100 percent,” Will said, “and even when he could play, that had an effect. I think that, this year, we’ll see him completely healthy for the first time.”
During Reid’s time in Worcester, the AHL Sharks have won with defense and goaltending. Goals have been at a premium, and it says something about Reid’s offensive ability that even though he has missed as much time as he has with injuries, he is one of just 24 Worcester players to crack the 20-goal mark for his career.
Possessor of one of those old-fashioned wrist shots – hard with a quick delivery – Reid is hoping that his third season in the American Hockey League is his best. A healthy shoulder and a spot on the first line could go a long way towards making it happen.
Bill Ballou covers the Worcester Sharks for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.