While fans were clamoring for the Flyers to take in impact scoring forward — and one in particular— with their first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the team instead opted to take a high-end defenseman with their pick and find a forward later on.
GM Chuck Fletcher would do just that, trading back into the second round at No. 34 overall to snag Bobby Brink of the Sioux City Musketeers and the USHL. Pegged by many as a potential first-round talent, Fletcher’s shrewd work nabbed him a high-end defenseman in Cam York (who will appear in this list later on) and an offensive upside forward in Brink early in the second round to in effect fill two organizational needs headed into the draft.
More on York later, but in Brink the Flyers have a diminutive but highly skilled offensive player that will look to prove himself for the Denver Pioneers next season at the collegiate level. Brink is all of 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, but scored at a high clip last season in the USHL to the tune of 35 goals in 43 games. If his offensive prowess and size sound familiar it’s because Brink sounds a lot like fellow 2019 pick Cole Caufield, whom the Flyers passed on to take York one selection earlier. The two will likely be linked a ton going forward given their similarities and the fact the Flyers could have just picked Caufield. But that means they also wouldn’t have York, who likely would not have been available at No. 34.
There’s a lot to like about Brink and his upside as he slides into No. 16 on our summer rankings, with a chance to move up with a strong debut at the NCAA ranks this Fall.
No. 16: Bobby Brink
Age: 18 (7/8/2001)
Size: 5’8”, 159
Acquired Via: 2019 NHL Draft — Round 2, Pick 34 (Pick acquired from Nashville in exchange for Picks No. 45 and 65 in 2019 on June 22, 2019)
2018-19 League/Team/Statistics: Sioux City (USHL) - 35 G, 33 A in 43 GP
Ranking in BSH Winter 2019 25 Under 25: N/A (not in system)
Getting Brink in the second round after nabbing York in the first was a nice piece of work by Fletcher in filling two needs, but he also got a steal as ISS Hockey had Brink ranked as their 22nd overall prospect heading into the draft while Bob McKenzie had him 26th. Heck, even NHL Central Scouting had him ranked 19th, so there’s tons of value where Brink was picked.
It’s easy to see what the scouts like about Brink, too. He’s a gifted offensive player that is creative in the zone, can be a playmaker or a finisher, and has a really good motor. Man do the Flyers really need a guy like this in their system. For how deep the Flyers’ prospect pool is, there wasn’t really someone you could point to with offensive upside anywhere close to what Brink’s is. If you wash out guys like Travis Konency and Nolan Patrick, who are already at the NHL level, there aren’t many guys who standout at the AHL level or below as above average offensive players. There are some solid two-way players, but nobody close to what kind of things Brink can do with the puck on his stick and that’s an exciting add to the organization.
Philly trades up to 34 and selects Bobby Brink pic.twitter.com/qiRvXLKAIl— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) June 22, 2019
That tenacity, skill, and hockey sense helps make up for some of the shortcomings he may have at the moment as a skater. That sure sounds a lot like our buddy Matt Strome, so there’s certainly concern that even great offensive instincts and skills won’t necessarily equate to an impact player but he’s also vastly different than Strome. He’s short and quick in small spaces, something the 6-foot-4 Strome certainly is not. He’s also small, but that hasn’t been a problem for a guy named Alex DeBrincat, who fell to the second round due to size and just registered a 40-goal season in Chicago.
Those are the concerns in his game as of now, and while skating is a big one, we’ll also get a better idea of just where he is when he takes on the NCAAs next season and hopefully again as a part of the Team USA in various competitions. Given that he was named USHL Forward of the Year this past season, he still has loads of talent to make up for his skating and smaller guys have proven they can still score in bunches in the league today.
The Flyers did well at add a couple of high-end prospects at the top of the 2019 draft, and Brink has the offensive upside to be an impact NHL player down the line for an organization that could certainly use one.
Previously in Philadelphia Flyers Summer 2019 Top 25 Under 25: