No matter where he went, Bobby Brink played like a star this season. On every stage — be it the World Jr. A Challenge, USHL, or U18s — Brink dominated in uncanny fashion. Not on the radar of many to start the year, his strong play was not initially appreciated enough. But he never slowed down, finishing a draft year that was nothing short of spectacular.
The Sioux City Musketeer showcased brilliant playmaking ability, having high hockey IQ and offensive creativity. He constantly makes the right play and can drive a line despite being a winger. He has the tools and mind to become an impact player at the NHL level one day.
|Team||Sioux City (USHL)|
|Birthday||July 8, 2001|
Skating: 55 – Puck Skills: 60 – Hockey IQ/Sense: 65 – Physicality: 35
Brink plays a cerebral game with little holes. He can pull of high-end plays thanks to his dynamic playing style. He can create his own opportunities, making him a multi-layered threat. From an offensive perspective, Brink’s best attribute is his playmaking. He can find his teammates as a passer or play off the cycle. The powerplay is where he is especially dangerous, utilizing his smarts to take advantage of the extra time and space.
Brink’s skating is a bit of an enigma, though. He has decent speed, but a choppy stride that is quite bizarre. He has learned to get around it, however, playing with a pace that isn’t flying through the neutral zone. He takes his time in a way, and not in a bad sense. His movements in transition are calculated and he has the puck skills to maintain the puck when attackers are right on him. I really like how instinctual he plays, not just trying to force a square peg into a round hole.
You’ll notice how he thinks the game out and surveys his options. He consistently makes the right play which is why he had such a successful season in the USHL.
Speaking of his USHL play, well, the statistics speak for themselves. In 43 games he recorded 35 goals and 68 points, good enough for fourth most points in the entire league despite playing 19 fewer games than each of the three above him. Unfortunately for Brink, a broken ankle sustained at the World Jr. A Challenge sidelined him for a good portion of the season. So while he didn’t win the scoring race, he was well on his way to, having the league’s highest points per game with 1.58. Good enough for him to be named USHL forward of the year.
If we go a step further and look at how Brink stacks up to recent under-18 campaigns in the USHL, he like always, finds his name at the top. This century he owns the ninth highest U18 scoring season in the USHL, having a higher points per game then names like Jaden Schwartz, Kyle Connor, and Johnny Gaudreau.
Statistics via eliteprospects.com
How Brink was not a member of the USNTDP is beyond me. He shredded the USHL this season and would have benefited greatly by getting the chance to play against college competition.
While he is a playmaker by trade, Brink’s 35 goals very much stand out. He ranked second in the entire league for goals, and was by far the best on a per game basis. This is largely because he is a dual-threat player. His shot is a weapon, having strong mechanics in his accuracy and release. You’ll see how dynamic his shot can be below (and a pretty strong celly game as well).
I really fell in love with Brink’s style as the season came to an end. He has all the characteristics you want in a top-prospect: high-end playmaking and play-driving, threatening shot, doesn’t give up on plays, and has high hockey IQ with the statistics to back it up. He progressively got better as the year went on which is another great sign. His stride will need to be cleaned up, but the patience and validity he plays with allow him to get around it.
Brink can certainly become an impact top-6 winger in the NHL. He can do everything you want from a scorer in terms of tools and consistency. That is why I have him just outside the top-10. He will make an NHL franchise very, very happy.
Brink is bound for the University of Denver next season where he’ll begin his collegiate career. Denver has a rich history of success, having just made a trip to the Frozen Four. I believe Brink can be a one-and-done and be in an NHL lineup as soon as the 2020-21 season. He is so intelligent and adapts so quickly. His track record of success where ever he goes makes that claim quite justifiable.
If his skating doesn’t make much progress he may need time to saturate in the AHL, but I’m confident he’ll improve to a level good enough to have a real shot of sticking in the NHL once he is done at Denver.