2019 NHL draft

One long day should give Flyers prospect Bobby Brink plenty of motivation

zack_hill_philadelphia_flyers_bobby_brink.jpg
Zack Hill/ Philadelphia Flyers

One long day should give Flyers prospect Bobby Brink plenty of motivation

Bobby Brink will remember waiting.

With the NHL draft, most players will say it doesn't matter where you go or when you're taken, it's just special to hear your name called — a dream realized.

Brink, a 5-foot-8, 165-pound winger from Minnetonka, Minnesota, masterfully delivered in his draft year. He carved up the USHL for 68 points (35 goals, 33 assists) in 43 regular-season games with the Sioux City Musketeers, turning himself into what many viewed as a first-round prospect.

He didn't learn his draft destiny until Saturday, Day 2 of the event, at pick No. 34 overall.

"I landed in a great spot with the Flyers," Brink said last month at development camp, "and I couldn't be happier to be here."

Thrilled, absolutely. But …

"It's motivation that teams passed up on you," Brink said. "It was a long day Friday."

He won't forget.

The Flyers traded up to snag Brink. They were excited he was still available on Day 2, three selections into the second round (see story). Brink said he had met with the Flyers throughout the year and at the NHL Scouting Combine.

"I knew the history of the Flyers," Brink said. "It's such an historic organization.

"They didn't tell me they were going to draft me or anything, but I thought I was on their radar."

For good reason.

Brink isn't regarded as the biggest, fastest or strongest, but there's a deceptive quickness to his skating, he thrives on outsmarting the opposition and he's exceptionally skilled. 

I rely on the scouts to put the list together and Bobby was a player that our entire staff highly endorsed, scouted and very much liked as a hockey player. I've known Bobby and his family for many years. His dad Andy coached my son and also taught him in school. So there's a long relationship there. 

In terms of the background, I felt comfortable giving my opinion to the staff about what a quality kid from a quality family. Watched him play at every level, and it's remarkable — he was a star player in squirt and peewee, and he's a star player in the USHL. It's been amazing to watch his rise. He's a high-quality prospect.

- Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher

During the 5-on-5 scrimmage to finish off development camp, Brink stood out playing alongside top prospects Morgan Frost and Isaac Ratcliffe.

"He's a small guy, but he works hard," the 6-foot-6 Ratcliffe said. "He seemed to control the puck and it was on a string for him out there.

"He's a really good player."

Brink, who is headed to the University of Denver, said growing up he has admired smaller players in the NHL like Johnny Gaudreau and Patrick Kane.

"Seeing them do that, I realize that I can do it, too," Brink said. "They're providing me opportunity, for the smaller guys, by having so much success."

Gaudreau, the 25-year-old five-time All-Star, is a 5-foot-9, 165-pound winger who was drafted out of the USHL in 2011. He heard his name called in the fourth round.

Sometimes waiting can be a good thing.

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Meet Flyers first-round pick Cam York, a Cali kid with a Philly mentality

Meet Flyers first-round pick Cam York, a Cali kid with a Philly mentality

There's a perceptible Southern California coolness to Cam York. He's a laid-back 18-year-old from beautiful Anaheim Hills with a smooth and fluid game on the ice.

On the inside, though, there's an East Coast mentality. He understands Philly.

In fact, he loves it.

"That's probably the first thing I learned about Philadelphia is that they have passionate fans and they want to win," York said Tuesday at Flyers development camp. "They really hold their players accountable and, as a player, that's what you want."

When York heard his name called by the Flyers at No. 14 overall in last weekend's 2019 NHL draft, he already had a grasp of the organization, its values and the market in which it plays. Growing up, he appreciated the orange and black.

"I remember when I was a little kid and they would come out to Anaheim and play, I would always make sure I'd tell my parents, 'We need to go to this game,'" York said. "It's just one of those organizations where they have a rich history and just always a successful team. I'm really looking forward to being a part of it."

It doesn't take long to realize why the Flyers' entire scouting staff saw York 10 to 15 times during the season and came away sold on the point-producing machine from the blue line. He's an impressive skater with an even better offensive skill set. On the U.S. national U-18 team in 2018-19, York scored over a point per game with 65 points, a USNTDP single-season record for a defenseman.

"He's kind of a modern defenseman," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said. "He's very mobile, very intelligent, very cerebral. Lots of poise, plays a real responsible two-way game — he's a very good defender for a 6-footer."

And that's what York wants to emphasize just as much as his dangerous offensive game. He wants everyone to know he can play some defense, too. York was a team-best plus-56 on a U.S. national U-18 team that saw eight players drafted in the first round.

"Offensively, I feel like I'm dynamic and can make plays happen," York said, "but defensively, I feel like I don't get enough credit for what I do. I led my team in plus-minus this year, so I take a lot of pride in it. 

"I want to be a guy that plays 30 minutes a night, not just 20 because he's just offensively good. I want to be really good on both sides of the ice."

Philly can get on board with that mindset. York, who is headed to Michigan in 2019-20, will bring on the big moments, big minutes and a big city.

Don't let that Cali coolness fool you.


(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

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Bobby Brink should ease the pain over the Flyers' passing up of Cole Caufield in 2019 NHL draft

Bobby Brink should ease the pain over the Flyers' passing up of Cole Caufield in 2019 NHL draft

If there was any frustration among the fan base over the passing up of Cole Caufield, it was somewhat alleviated by the Flyers' work in the second round.

Let's be clear, that was not on the Flyers' mind when making the selection.

But on Friday night in the first round of the 2019 NHL draft, the Flyers had a chance to take Caufield, a popular 5-foot-7 right winger regarded as the best goal-scorer in the class. The 72-goal, 100-point American had dropped deeper than many anticipated, all the way to the Flyers at No. 14, even after the team moved back three spots.

The Flyers went with Cam York, a defenseman they had watched a ton of and really wanted (see story).

On Saturday afternoon in the second round, the Flyers just so happened to draft a right winger with first-round talent and prolific scoring ability. They traded up 11 spots and forfeited a third-round selection in order to grab Bobby Brink at No. 34 overall (see Flyers' draft recap).

No, Brink was not on Caufield's level, but he's pretty good and has similarities. The 5-foot-8, 165-pounder was ranked as the 20th-best player in the draft by TSN's Craig Button and put up eye-catching numbers with 68 points (35 goals, 33 assists) in 43 regular-season games for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL.

"We had him slotted higher [than No. 34 overall]," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said Saturday via a conference call. "Bobby was the guy that we were hoping was there. We knew he wasn't going to last very long in the second round, so we paid the price to move up; but to get a player of his caliber, we were happy to do that.

"He's not the biggest body, but he's extremely smart, highly skilled, very competitive. He picked apart the USHL league, which is hard to score in; coming right out of high school and dominated. He's very strong on his skates, he's got great edges and he's slippery."

Brink may have dipped into the second round because his skating isn't a notable strength. Flahr cleared up some of the doubt on that topic.

"His skating is different," he said.

"I don't think he's a burner as far as speed at this point, but his skating is always in the right spot and it doesn't seem to impact him at this point. He'll be the first one to tell you he's got to get quicker and stronger to play at the next level, but at this point in his physical development, we don't see an issue.

"He's a little bent over, but he's one of those kids that is down low, he's always moving his feet, he's on his edges. He opens up his feet, creates different angles and passing lanes. As far as straight out speed, I wouldn't say he's the fastest, but he always seems to get there."

Brink was there Saturday and the Flyers didn't want to miss him. They got a smaller, high-scoring right winger, less than 24 hours after passing up on one.

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