Last Word on Hockey
Brink is a sniper. He has a fantastic wrist shot and a lightning quick release. It is amongst the best shots in this draft class. It is also deadly accurate. Brink has the soft hands to score in tight to the goal as well, with the hand-eye coordination to get deflections and pounce on rebounds. He is not afraid to battle for his position in front of the net. His slap shot and one-timer are also very good but he does not use them often, preferring to make use of his wrist shot. Brink shows a knack for getting himself open without the puck in order to take a pass and get that shot off.
While he is known for his goal scoring, Brink also shows the ability to make plays. His stickhandling is good and he generates clean zone entries by carrying the puck through the neutral zone. He also can make plays in the cycle game. Brink has good vision and passing skills. He can set up teammates for quality scoring chances on both the rush and cycle.
I went into watching Brink knowing about the goal-scoring numbers that jump off the page when you look at them. Guys simply don’t score in the USHL at the rate he did, especially in his first draft-eligible season. That shot really jumps off the ice and I wasn’t left wondering how this guy produced the way he did. It’s the single most intriguing aspect of his game and I can see why some people have moved him into the middle of the first round. Scoring goals is the name of the game and this kid can do that.
The rest of his game really left me wanting a little bit though. His skating is fine but certainly nothing special and his playmaking with the puck didn’t really strike me as something I’d see from a first-round talent. I just didn’t feel like I was watching a high-caliber player most of the time. I did like his all-around effort and his usage saw him running a point on the PP as well as regularly seeing PK time. I like guys whose coaches trust them in those kinds of roles so that warmed me a bit to him.
Still, I can’t really say I felt comfortable with him as a mid-first kind of prospect. He really looked more to me like a late-first where a good team takes a chance on a kid who might be a little too one-dimensional to make it but that one dimension is goal-scoring so you take the chance. He’s a solid prospect but I see more of player ranked in the range of 30-45 than someone for Colorado at 16.
Despite what I said above, I think he’d be a great fit in Colorado’s organization. They don’t really have any raw goal scorers and taking a chance on a guy with Brink’s talent would make a lot of sense for them. That said, I wouldn’t do it at 16. If he fell to Colorado’s second-round selection, I would feel very justified with the pick. Unfortunately for the Avs, I think Brink is going to fall into that gap where he’s not good enough for 16 but too good to last until 47.
Ultimately, if the Avs ended up with Brink on draft day, you don’t worry so much about the value of the pick after the selection is made as you do about how to maximize his future. He’ll be in Denver with the Pios so the Avs will have plenty of chance to keep tabs on him but he’s definitely a player who needs a couple of NCAA seasons before thinking about the NHL.
#23 Future Considerations
#33 Bob McKenzie