It’s Bobby Brink time in Philadelphia after Denver’s playoff run is over
Bobby Brink is having a fantastic junior season for Denver this year, placing himself comfortably into the Hobey Baker Award conversation. Brink finished the 2021-2022 regular season 1st in the NCAA with 14G-39A-53P in 34 games. 7 points ahead of the runner-up, Nathan Smith, who had 17G-29A-46 points.
Bobby Brink was drafted in the 2nd round (34th overall) in the 2019 NHL draft, the same draft we saw Chuck Fletcher select Cam York 14th overall over Cole Caulfield (who finished that season winning the Hobey Baker Award). Chuck Fletcher obviously really wanted Brink, trading his 45th and 65th pick in the same draft to the Nashville Predators to go get his guy.
Chuck Fletcher’s Drafts
Obviously, the case is still out on Chuck’s drafts, but the 2019 draft already has three players that have/will go pro after this season.
Cam York already has 16 career NHL games under his belt and will see more of the NHL after the trade deadline comes and goes (Justin Braun and Rasmus Ristolainen might be on the move). Bobby Brink will likely forgo his senior season after the playoffs end this year and sign his ELC contract with the Flyers.
Ronnie Attard, a 3rd round pick (72nd overall), has progressed in each season with Western Michigan University in the NCAA since 2019-2020 and currently has 12G-20A-32P in 33 games this season.
Attard is another player, along with Elliot Desnoyers (135th overall in 2020), Noah Cates (137th overall in 2017), Ivan Fedotov (188th overall in 2015), and Jack St. Ivany (112th overall in 2018) who could go pro after their respective seasons are over.
Let’s not forget Mason Millman (103rd overall in 2019), who saw time in the AHL last season and this year (12 games). He was sent down to the ECHL to play for the Reading Royals.
Bobby Brink Receives Honors
Brink is an undersized forward, standing at 5’8 166 pounds, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he doesn’t play the game hard. The knock on him coming into the 2019 NHL draft was his skating. While I agree it’ll never be a strong suit, he makes up for it with his elite hockey IQ and constant competitiveness. He always has his feet moving and is never caught gliding like some other prospect I know *cough* Morgan Frost *cough*.
Brink was recently named National Player of the month for February by the Hockey Commissioners’ Association on March 3rd. He helped Denver to a 5-3-0 record and tallied 5G-10A.
2021 World Junior Championships
Personally, him leading the NCAA in points and PPG (1.56) is a huge achievement and there’s a really high chance he comes to the pro game with the Hobey Baker Award, but I was more impressed with his performance at the 2021 World Junior Championships.
Brink was reduced to a 3rd line, “grinding” type role that tournament, with players like Trevor Zegras, Alex Turcotte, Cole Caufield, Arthur Kaliyev, Matthew Boldy, Jake Sanderson, Matthew Beniers, and oh, captain Cam York, taking most of the spotlight. Still, Brink finished the tournament with 2G-4A-6P in 7 games and had a HUGE block to seal the Gold Medal for Team USA at the end of the game.
To me, it showed that he can be a swiss-army knife-type player that can play any kind of role you ask him to. He was even making eye-opening plays on the PK, which had me excited for his potential to do the same in the pro game. Now, seeing him torch the NCAA and finish the 2021-2022 regular season 1st in college hockey, just further stamps that thought.
NHL/AHL time for Bobby Brink?
I do think we’ll see Bobby Brink sign his ELC contract with the Flyers once Denver’s season ends after their playoff run which begins on Friday against the Miami Hurricanes.
Like I mentioned at the beginning of the article, Brink has cemented himself into the Hobey Baker Award talks and I personally (with me being a little bit of a homer aside) think he deserves it.
Here are the 4 previous winners of the Hobey Baker Award:
- Cole Caufield (F) – 2021
- Scott Perunovich (D) – 2020
- Cale Makar (D) – 2019
- Adam Gaudette (F) – 2018
I do think it’ll take a little adjustment for Brink to get his game going at the pro level, but again, his elite hockey sense and tenacious way of playing the game helps to cover up his skating issues (which are really not that bad).
Considering the Flyers are a loss and Ottawa win away from being in the bottom-five of the league, this is the perfect opportunity for Bobby Brink to get some NHL games under his belt, assuming he doesn’t look absolutely lost at the AHL level.
Who knows where he starts once he signs his ELC, to be honest, but for crying out loud, Jackson Cates signed his ELC out of the University of Duluth and immediately played NHL games.
In all seriousness, Cates was involved in an extremely scary incident on Saturday in the Phantoms 5-3 loss to Charlotte. Cates was pushed into the boards and had to be taken to the hospital on a stretcher. Ian Laperriere updated the media on Sunday morning, saying Cates was still at the hospital but he was feeling better and all tests came back normal.
Sending all the well wishes to Cates and his entire family.
Regardless of where Bobby Brink starts his pro career, he’s been a glimmer of light in what has been one of the darkest times in my life as a Flyers fan. He’s going to be a fun player to watch in orange & black and he sort of gives me…Cam Atkinson vibes.
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Light/Getty