It’s mock draft season for SB Nation, and at pick number 19, we were blessed with numerous excellent options still on the board. Instead of opting for centreman Ryan Suzuki or defenceman Cam York, we’ve chosen Bobby Brink, the right winger, and we couldn’t be more pleased.
Brink came into this past season as a bit of a dark horse. Fresh out of playing for Minnetonka High School (the same team as Sens prospect Luke Loheit), he joined the Sioux City Musketeers, where he quickly burst onto the scene. Scoring 35 goals and 68 points in 43 games, his point-per-game rate was third in the league, behind Alex Turcotte and Jack Hughes. That’s higher than many prospects expected to go earlier, including Matthew Boldy, Trevor Zegras and Cole Caufield. As a 17-year-old in a league full of 20-year-olds, Brink was rewarded by being named the USHL’s Forward of the Year.
In terms of the scouting lists, Brink has been one of this draft’s most divisive players. NHL Central Scouting has him ranked 19th just amongst North American skaters. Most individual outlets are more generous, however, ranking Brink anywhere between 10th to 37th. The average fittingly comes to 19th overall, based on my consolidated rankings from 15 different scouting sources.
To describe Brink’s playing style in one word, he’s intense. He’s always around the puck, setting up plays, and taking lots of shots. For a 5’8” player (he was listed 5’10” but his combine measurement was shorter), he does not play like a typical small player.
It comes across in his results, as he was involved in an astounding 46.6% (!!!) of his team’s goals. His on-ice goals for percentage of 66.2% is also phenomenal, especially since the rest of Sioux City went down to 43.2% whenever Brink wasn’t on the ice. His shooting percentage of 28% is normally a sign of caution, but considering the versatility of his shot and his knack for finding open areas (and also the USHL’s poor goaltending quality), it almost turns into a compliment. These are elite numbers, which are right up there with the tight-knit group expected to be drafted from picks three to thirteen. To say that he’s an analytics darling might even be a bit of an understatement.
The biggest knock on Brink is his skating. As Will Scouch shows in his draft profile on Brink, his straight line speed is sluggish, although he can be deceptively agile when navigating through the offensive zone. Think of him like the reverse Alex Formenton — Brink has the puck handling and vision but without the speed, whereas Formenton has speed for days, but only recently has shown signs that his hands can keep up. Brink also somewhat reminds me of Mark Stone in this way — he’s a proven play-driver, but skating should be his #1 development priority if he wants to be a game-breaker in the NHL.
One other minor downside to Brink is that his commitment to the University of Denver doesn’t start until 2020, meaning he’ll be back to the USHL next year, in a league that he’s already dominated. Denver is an excellent school to be committed to, though, as numerous forwards have come through there in recent years, including Henrik Borgstrom, Troy Terry and Dylan Gambrell.
Down the line, we project Brink to be a top-six forward, as long as his skating improves. He and Drake Batherson could make for an excellent one-two punch, and putting Brink on a line with Tkachuk could create possibly the most intense forward combo in the league.
Picking Brink at #19 comes with some risk, although the upside is tremendous. His skating could stall and prevent him from making the NHL, or he could be a game-breaker and single-handedly make up for losing the 4th overall pick to Colorado. I have more trust that he’ll be the latter, which is why we made him our selection.
Follow the rest of the SB Nation Mock Draft here.
Did we make the right call? Who would you have chose at pick #19?
This poll is closed
Bobby Brink (F)
Pavel Dorofeyev (F)
Ryan Suzuki (F)
Cam York (D)
Ville Heinola (D)
Spencer Knight (G)