Defenseman Sheldon Brookbank has parlayed a career year into a two-year, $1.5 million contract with the Ducks. The 29-year-old will earn $700,000 in 2010-11 and $800,000 the following season for a $750,000 cap hit.
Brookbank set career highs in 2009-10 in games played (66), assists (9), points (9), plus/minus (plus-10) and penalty minutes (114). His plus/minus rating and penalty minute total were second on the team, and his eight fighting majors tied for third.
Ducks management first approached Brookbank about a possible contract extension during the second half of last season. While he considered the possibility of seeking more money as a free agent, the deciding factor was that “I was comfortable here,” he said.
“I didn’t want to get too greedy. I wanted to be somewhere I feel like I fit in. I feel like I fit in here and my wife likes it here too.”
His salary is on par with a fifth or sixth defenseman, which is where Brookbank projects when the team is at full strength. Injuries, suspensions, and the inconsistent play of Nick Boynton and Steve Eminger allowed Brookbank to play a larger role at times last season, and he emerged as a consistent option in a defensive-minded role.
For Brookbank, the difference between last season and years past was mental.
“If I was to make a mistake or get taken out of the lineup, I realize I’m not going to gain a lot by stressing over it,” he said. “That’s something I battled early in my career. I realized I could be an effective player at this level. It just grows into you the more you play.”
Brookbank was originally signed by the Mighty Ducks in 2003 and played two seasons for then-AHL affiliate Cincinnati. He bounced around the Predators and Devils organizations before being acquired from New Jersey for collegiate center David McIntyre in February 2009.