The 2019 NHL Entry Draft did not fall short in the area of unexpected occurrences. From prospects taken earlier than expected, such as Moritz Seider and Philip Broberg, to projected first-rounders falling past pick 31. It is safe to say that the way the draft panned out surprised a lot of people. The Philadelphia Flyers capitalized on the surprise-factor of the draft, moving up in the second-round to select winger Bobby Brink. Many scouts expected Brink to go in the second half of round one but he slid due to a bunch of teams going “off the board” with their picks. Of course, this unexpected slide worked very much in the favor of Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers.
Background Info on Bobby Brink
Brink, a Minnesota-native, began making a name for himself in hockey playing high school Minnetonka High. As most of you know, Minnesota high school hockey is no joke. The state takes it very seriously and the competition is fierce. During the 2017-18 season, Brink recorded a respectable 13 goals and 31 assists in 25 games. Additionally, he helped Minnetonka High bring home 2018 Class AA Championship.
This past season, Brink played for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. In 43 games, Brink absolutely lit the league on fire. He recorded 35 goals, nine game-winners, and 33 assists. On top of that he was awarded USHL Forward of the Year and elected to USHL First All-Star Team.
Next season, Brink will continue his journey to professional hockey in the NCAA. He will play for the University of Denver and head coach David Carle. Yes, that is the brother of former Flyer, Matt Carle.
Areas of Strength
It’s interesting. Whenever you hear the media make comparisons to Alex Debrincat, the prospect they are typically discussing is Cole Caufield. However, he is not the only top-tier prospect with strong similarities to the Chicago Blackhawks forward. Many scouts view Bobby Brink the same way they view Caufield in that regard.
First and foremost, Brink is a skilled and dynamic playmaker. He can completely glaciate opposing defenders, leaving them unresponsive to his moves on the ice. Brink really beats the opposition with speed but he is very deceptive. Each move he makes is calculated and effective. Scouts define Brink as “difficult to read” for opposing players which makes defending him challenging.
One of the main qualities of a playmaker is an ability to pass the puck well. Brink is capable of making dynamic passes that consistently find their mark. Match that with his overall intelligence and instinct, and you have a young player that frequently makes high-percentage plays.
Bobby Brink was not always a gifted goal-scorer. However, over years of practice and development, it is now another strength that he possesses. He has drastically improved on his shot and now can beat you numerous ways. Brink has a wicked one-timer and a wrist shot that just seems to get better each time he takes to the ice.
Offensively, Brink is almost everything you can ask for in a young player. He’s a gifted playmaker and goal-scorer with incredible hands and hockey sense. He doesn’t fold under pressure and always makes the players around him better.
Areas of Weakness
Bobby Brink’s skating has scouts concerned, and there’s some uncertainty with whether he can overcome it. His skating mechanics have been categorized as “awkward” and “rigid”. Just from watching Brink skate, it is clear that it is a challenge for him. It’s as though he needs to be retaught the fundamentals.
There is no avoiding the fact that Brink’s skating ability is a bit of a project. He is going to need a lot of coaching and instruction in that area. It will take some time before his skating gets to a point where people won’t view it as a hindrance on his ability to succeed at the professional level.
When we revisit Chuck Fletcher’s draft history with the Flyers, Bobby Brink is going to stand out as his greatest pick. The fact that Brink was still available in the second-round was shocking in its own right. Factor in that Fletcher was smart enough to move up to grab him and you have a fantastic move by the General Manager.
Brink is going to take some time to develop. Most of his game is very strong but his skating is going to hold him back a little. It is going to be the focal point of his training and I expect him to make improvements. It may not be until after his Sophomore or Junior year at Denver, but I do think that Philadelphia snagged a future star in round two.
Mandatory Credit: Photo courtesy of Hickling Images
John Gove is a full-time elementary educator with a passion for sports media. He has covered various aspects of hockey and basketball for various outlets over the past five years. Currently, he serves as a contributor and editor for Philly Sports Network focussing on prospects within the Philadelphia Flyers farm system and Villanova Men’s Basketball. John also serves as a co-host of Pod Street Bullies, PSN’s flagship Flyers podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @PodStreetGove.