Commodity trading isn’t a difficult concept to understand but it has a level of prediction that encompasses so many variables you wonder how they ever negotiate a price for orange juice, wheat, oil or corn three months ahead of time. In 1864 the world’s first futures exchange in Chicago was set up, merchants were attempting to ensure that there were always buyers and sellers for commodities, thereby gaining a better idea of what they should dig for, grow or refine. It wasn’t about setting price so much as was and is about mitigating the risks. Drafting hockey players has some similarities.
“These guys are here and they are for real. This is their job, they aren’t just going to let you come in and take over. They have played in the NHL, the AHL…everyone is an elite player in our room, in every room.” David Broll is always assessing his effort, his game, his knowledge as he tries to become a stronger commodity. He knows that effort can’t swing wildly from game to game.
“This is all for real now, it’s not just the game, part of it is about making sure you live up to the contract and making sure there is another one. Making sure they believe they made a good choice. “ Broll handles the difficulties of transitioning from the Junior game to professional in the AHL in an honest fashion. What he is finding is the same thing traders on the floor or the Board of Trade deal with every day. The factors of success change every moment, every practice, every game, every shift. And the reward depends greatly on how you handle those factors.
“One of the things you find out quickly is that every player is good. There are no off nights. Everyone was someone in junior or college. ” Watching Broll tip in a pass from Sam Carrick for a goal against the Chicago Wolves you get a sense of why the Leafs kept him in camp right until the end. Broll was likely always slated to be on the Marlies but staying that long made him feel like he was on the team not just with the team.
“You believe you can compete. And then you stay that long in camp. And getting the talk that I was going to the Marlies…well I didn’t have expectations to start camp like I was going to play right away or play in the AHL, one way or the other but that was a tough thing to get my head around. But, I learned from that. When you see the talent here with the Marlies you just know these guys can play and so maybe it’s not so much about a demotion so much as it is about a developing.”
Broll is 20. There is time. And he has a key ingredient that is hard to valuate. He plays with heart. That’s not something you can immediately quantify. That’s like a trader buying the three-month oil contract because the guys pulling it out of the ground really like their jobs. It counts for something but how much?
“Adjusting is difficult. For me I want more consistency. I’ll have three or four good games and then a bad one, or a couple bad ones. In game I feel like something isn’t right and then after the game you try to make sure you work harder, simpler, so that you can be in that lineup every night.” Broll is living the emotional roller coaster of professional hockey. Aside from the nice ten second quotes you hear when a player gets sent down, or is a healthy scratch, the ones that say, I’m just going to play hard for the team, whatever team that is… there is real life.
“There is talking about it and living it and I’m living it. I can’t worry about anything else but what I can do. You can’t worry about the other stuff because it will take you away from your game.” After a recent road game he got on the bus for a six hour ride and found himself stretched out on the floor listening to a huge range of music on his iPod. The six foot two, 216 pound mass of muscle, who is often referred to as Brolldozer and not for his adeptness at sleeping, was snoozing while the bus bounced it’s way to the next stop because he was making sure that there were no excuses physically in his game.
“That’s the biggest thing about pro. The future comes pretty quick and you can’t have some excuse about why you didn’t play well. You can’t say, I was tired, I didn’t get sleep, I didn’t eat right. We’re not kids anymore, all that is up to you as player and a guy with a job.“ You can add understanding the factors that go into his growth, his refinement, his future to the many commodities in David Broll’s game.