With the season now finished, I’ll be reviewing the individual performances of Chicago Blackhawks players and giving out grades based on their play during the 2013-14 season. In this article I’ll take a look at Sheldon Brookbank.
Brookbank was used rather bizarrely by Joel Quenneville in 2013-14, often being forced to line up at wing on the third line despite a litany of more reasonable options to play the position, including the ever-popular Jeremy Morin. It wouldn’t make much sense to grade Brookbank based on his performance as a winger (which was disastrous), making a reasonable evaluation of him via statistics rather difficult since it’s not easy to parse apart the time he spent at forward and on defense.
With that said, the eye test showed a defenseman who struggled badly during the regular season. Brookbank was particularly prone to turnovers despite playing limited minutes and not having to handle the puck very much. He never played well enough to stick in the lineup for any extended period.
Things took a turn for the better in the postseason. Brookbank got a chance to jump into the lineup during the first round when Brent Seabrook got himself suspended for three games as a result of a dirty hit to St. Louis Blues‘ captain David Backes. Brookbank was excellent defensively for those three games — all victories for Chicago — and looked more comfortable on the ice than he had all season long. He saw minimal action for the rest of the playoffs, but was solid when called upon.
Overall, Brookbank’s playoff contributions are enough to counteract a lousy regular season and earn him a C.