It’s hard not to see the star-power of Brendan O’Donnell after this season. In his second pro season, the Florida Everblades forward seemed to figure out the transition in a short time and has made a HUGE impact not only on the team, but the league as well. Not only did O’Donnell rank in the top-ten in points for the ECHL, but his 41 goals was tied with Brampton’s David Pacan for the best in the league.
Hell, in these playoffs so far, O’Donnell has seven goals and four assists for 11 points in one round alone as he led the Everblades to a comeback series win over the Orlando Solar Bears.
This transition could be an interesting one, especially for observers of O’Donnell’s path to pro hockey from his time at the University of North Dakota. Having only 27 goals in his four-year career at UND, O’Donnell’s game was more in the energy role, after his time in midget hockey and Junior “A” where he was a team leader in scoring. There are some players who never have that ability to transition from one role of being a key scoring component to an energy/grinding player, then back again– but O’Donnell has seemingly that scoring stride again a big way.
Some of that could be contributed to Everblades’ coach Brad Ralph, who’s style of play has been much more offensive this season from what Greg Poss had at the end of the 2015-16 season in Florida. The Everblades as a whole had 49 more goals this season than last. Granted, the team also gave up 44 more goals than last season, offense will get the headlines when a team is winning in most cases.
On top of that, O’Donnell was poised to breakout, finishing the ’15-16 campaign strong with 14 goals and 10 assists in the last 16 games. While that finish may have been a foreshadowing of this year’s happenings, there’s times where players aren’t able to holster that hot streak, especially through the off-season.
Luckily for the Everblades, O’Donnell has never looked back from what he started at the end of last season and has been a big reason they’re in the second round of this year’s playoffs.