Welcome to another summer of Blackhawks’ Future Friday. In this weekly column, we explore some of the prospects in the Blackhawks’ system, and see how far they’ve come in the past year, as well as discuss their future with the club. This Friday, we take a look at a recent acquisition that has an exciting hockey career still very much in front of him: Mathieu Brisebois.
Brisebois was a part of the trade that saw David Rundblad come to Chicago on March 4th, 2014. Unlike his Arizona Coyotes teammate, Rundblad stayed with the Blackhawks, while Brisebois was assigned to the teams’ top affiliate, the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs.
Brisebois was no stranger to the AHL level, previously playing in the league with the Coyotes’ affiliate, the Portland Pirates. He played 28 games with the Pirates in 2013-14, before finishing the season with the ‘Hogs for 13 games.
Brisebois was traded almost exactly a year after signing his first professional contract, a three-year, entry-level deal with the Coyotes. He was first eligible for the NHL draft in 2010, but went undrafted, and signed during his final season of junior hockey.
Brisebois was not on the winning side of his first two seasons of junior hockey. In 2009-10, he played his first action in the QMJHL as part of the Lewiston MAINEiacs, who finished last in their division. Brisebois had 7 assists playing in 28 games, with a plus/minus rating of -5.
His first year would in fact, be Lewiston’s last, and Brisebois joined the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies for the 2010-2011 year. He played in 47 games for the Huskies, recording 18 points and 32 PIMs. Brisebois was an ice-cold -27, as the Huskies were the worst team in the league, finishing with 12 wins.
In his second full season in the QMJHL, Brisebois exploded for 17 goals and 56 points in 68 games, helping guide the Huskies to a playoff appearance. Rouyn-Noranda was swept that year, and Brisebois recorded only 1 point and 12 penalty minutes in four games.
His over-age season in the QMJHL would end up being his best, as the 20-year old was among the league’s best blue-liners. Brisebois was over a point-per-game player with the Huskies, finishing with 19 goals and 73 points in 64 games, while finishing with the only positive plus-minus rating of his Junior career – +15. He was named to the QMJHL’s second all-star team, and the Huskies made a deep run in the playoffs, eventually being eliminated in the semi-finals. Brisebois finished the playoff run with 15 points in 14 games.
Here’s what hockeysfuture.com had to say about Brisebois:
"An offensive defenseman, Brisebois is a shifty skater and has great puckhandling skills. Eager to jump up and join the rush, he has learned how to pick his spots better as he has matured. He has great vision in the offensive zone and moves the puck well, as well as displaying a great shot and the patience to get it on net. Only average sized for a defenseman, he will also need to improve his skating to improve his play in his own zone."
Brisebois has his work cut out for him, joining a deep defensive prospect pool that includes several NHL-ready players. While in Rockford, he will be an integral part of the IceHogs’ quest to make it back to the playoffs for the first time in 5 years, and will likely settle into a second-pairing role for the next couple of seasons.
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