And we’re back! Yesterday we recapped Joel Farabee and Adam Ginning’s performances in the World Junior Summer Showcase—a couple of players who played in the World Junior Championship last year for their respective national teams, and who feel pretty much like locks for this year’s teams, as well, as long as they’re healthy and permitted by their teams to join. But the Flyers also have a couple of new draftees who are gunning for spots on the American team, and they both had themselves pretty solid auditions. Here’s what you should know.
Bobby Brink. 5 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, 8 SOG
Relatively speaking, it was a quieter tournament for Brink, at least on the points front, but we can still feel pretty good about his performance overall. He only registered the one assist (and you’ll be seeing it shortly), but did well in generating chances across each of the five games he played. Even when he was pushed down in the lineup to more of a depth role after the cuts were made to the roster (which, we should add, making it past was no small feat on a team this loaded with talent), Brink still brought the same level of effort and energy, and kept working at creating chances, sticking to his game.
One piece that was particularly striking was Brink’s usage on the power play—later in the tournament, they had him playing at the net front. And, while he was playing more of a bumper role there than a screening role, it seems a little funny to think of Brink, all 5’8” of him parked in front of the net and creating some traffic. Perhaps more than anything it speaks to his coach’s trust in his ability to convert on chances in close—and giving him the opportunity to drop below the goal line and distribute from there, where he also looked good—but it is a bit of a jarring, on first glance. But hey, he was able to get a couple of looks in tight throughout the tournament (like the one below), so maybe it makes some sense.
Bobby Brink can be just a beast. Here is a prime example of that. Brink collects the loose puck and just keeps his feet moving. Love how he throws the puck back across when he realizes he has no decent shot. #WJSS #Flyers pic.twitter.com/7fvQdHTEtU— Stars n’ Stripes Hockey (@StarsStripesHKY) July 28, 2019
The biggest question I had about him coming into this tournament was how he would fare against this more difficult competition with his weakness in skating, but this turned out to not be a huge issue. You could still that his straight line speed needs some improvement, but it wasn’t as though he was lagging a step behind everyone else in transition and play was escaping him. He was able to keep up well enough. In short, while a weakness, we can feel comfortable saying that the skating isn’t exactly a liability either.
Cam York. 5 GP, 1 G, 2 A, 2 P, 11 SOG
Like with Brink, one of the more encouraging developments to come out of this tournament was seeing that York’s weaknesses, while still of course areas in need of improvement, aren’t exactly liabilities when playing against some of the most talented players in his age group. In Brink’s case, it was the straight line skating, and for York it was, well, his defensive game. We wouldn’t say that he was a defensive powerhouse, but he got the job done. He’s a smart player, so his decision making, on the whole was sound, and that seemed to help him out. Defense was fine. Good talk.
Where he really stood out, then, was on the offensive side. Like here, when he scored a very nice goal, assisted by our pal Bobby Brink who we just talked about a minute ago. How’s that for continuity?
York’s offensive game standing out shouldn’t come as a surprise to us—we saw his scoring numbers from his draft year, we knew this was a strength of his game—but there is something rewarding about seeing a sustainability in it. He wasn’t just tearing through the USDP, he’s also bringing this same level to a tournament with, as we keep reinforcing, some of the most talented players in his age group. He did well to create offense for his team in both points and chances, and this is going to (likely) make him a useful piece for an already pretty stacked US team, come World Juniors time.
The last piece that we have to hit is a loose observation that popped up in the last game. Brad and I were talking amongst ourselves during the game, and we both made note that there were elements of York’s game that really reminded us of Travis Sanheim’s. For Brad it was how often he activates on the rush and in the offensive zone, plus how he moves, more generally. For me it was watching him skate sideways easily on the blue line while he was on the power play. They’re admittedly sort of loose comparables, but it is exciting to be able to say that we have another decidedly Sanheim-esque player in the organization. It’s a good mold to have in excess.
All stats via USA Hockey