Philadelphia Flyers Summer 2021 Top 25 Under 25, No. 10: Bobby Brink
Breaking into the top 10!
No. 10: Bobby Brink
2020-21 League/Team(s): University of Denver (NCHC, NCAA)
2020-21 Statistics: 2 G, 9 A, 11 P in 15 GP
Acquired In: 2019 (drafted)
Ranking in Spring 2020 25 Under 25: 14th
How did Brink’s 2020-21 hockey season go? Is his stock trending up or down from where it was entering the year?
It was a weird season for everyone in some regard, but it was a particularly weird season for Brink. For starters, he really didn’t play that much—with being away for the World Juniors pre-tournament camp and the tournament itself, he only played 15 games for Denver, and then those seven World Junior games for the US. But, limited as his play might have been, it wasn’t a poor season. Denver struggled quite a bit this season to string together wins, so Brink didn’t really have a whole lot of support around him, but his play wasn’t anything to be too fussed about. His game was steady and he was generally quite effective—he was a good driver of offense (even if the scoring numbers didn’t totally reflect that), and brought that expected high energy and compete that make him difficult to play against.
His play at the World Juniors, too, was really strong. The big names sort of stole the show for the US team, but the reality is that there were a lot of games where the bottom-six were driving a lot of the offense as opponents worked to shut down those big names. The US’s depth winning out was a huge asset to them on the way to their gold medal win, and Brink was a key part of that.
What are we expecting from Brink this season? What should we be looking for from him?
That’s a bit of a tough one. With two seasons of college under his belt, and what’s looking to be a more or less normal junior season ahead of him, we might expect that Brink will finally look like he’s taking a big step forward, and looking at least closer to dominating at the college level (something we’d realistically like to see before he turns pro). But we might also temper that expectation a little bit, based on the team we’re looking at heading into the season. The NCHC is a tough conference, and it looks likely that Denver may see some of their offensive struggles continue into this season, they’re a young team, which would make for a bit more difficult of a context for Brink to really get his scoring going. So maybe we adjust our expectations there.
If it’s not a scoring outburst that we see from Brink, we just need to see the rest of his game—which we noted was still quite effective for him last season—continuing to click and progress. We’ve seen him making some headway in improving his skating, which was one of the biggest areas in need of refining when he was drafted, and that’s been a real positive sign. He still needs to put in a bit more work to get himself skating at closer to a pro level, but that does feel like a manageable mark to hit.
How does Brink fit into the Flyers’ long-term plans? Where does he stand in the Flyers’ organizational depth?
The Flyers aren’t exactly thin at right wing, looking at both the NHL and prospect levels, which might make the path to a role with the team a little more difficult for Brink, on the surface. He would have to beat out a handful of more established players to grab a spot with the Flyers, which certainly isn’t an easy task. That said, the Flyers do seem high on Brink, they want to make sure they get him signed, and Brink seems eager to do so as well, so the depth at his position hasn't been enough to deter anyone.
But the situation might not end up being quite so complicated as it seems—Brink will be spending at least one more season in college, and then will likely need a few years playing at the AHL level to continue to mature and polish his game, and who knows what the team will look like by the time he’s ready to make the jump to the NHL level. He’s a very good player, and the plan to just get him in the organization, continue to develop him, and see what happens when he’s ready is a good one.
What do we think Brink’s ultimate NHL upside is, and how likely is it that he gets to something approaching that?
If Brinks hits his ceiling, we’re looking at a good middle-six winger who may be more of a complimentary type player, but who can score well, provide energy, and still be disruptive on the forecheck. The skating remains a bit of a question mark, it will dictate how close he’s able to get to hitting that ceiling, but he’s continued to trend in the right direction, which is encouraging. As we said, his development path is likely going to be a bit longer, and that’s okay, they don’t need him immediately, but the rest of his game does look like it would translate well to the professional level, so him hitting that ceiling doesn’t feel like a long shot.
How We Voted: Bobby Brink
How We Voted: No. 10
|Tanner Laczynski||Samu Tuomaala||Tanner Laczynski||Bobby Brink||Bobby Brink||Egor Zamula||Zayde Wisdom||Egor Zamula||Egor Zamula||Bobby Brink|
Previously in Flyers Summer 2021 Top 25 Under 25:
- No. T-24: Ivan Fedotov
- No. T-24: German Rubtsov
- No. 23: Jay O’Brien
- No. 22: David Kase
- No. 21: Linus “The Hog” Hogberg
- No. 20: Isaac Ratcliffe
- No. 19: Ronnie Attard
- No. 18: Connor Bunnaman
- No. 17: Noah Cates
- No. 16: Elliot Desnoyers
- No. 15: Emil Andrae
- No. 14: Samu Tuomaala
- No. 13: Zayde Wisdom
- No. T-11: Tanner Laczynski
- No. T-11: Samuel Ersson/