Bobby Brink

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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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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Recapping the Flyers' 2019 NHL draft class

Recapping the Flyers' 2019 NHL draft class

The Flyers' 2019 NHL draft is in the books.

General manager Chuck Fletcher, assistant general manager Brent Flahr and the Flyers entered the draft with eight picks and finished with seven. In a trade Friday night, the Flyers gained a second-round selection. In a trade Saturday afternoon, they lost one of their two third-round spots. Then, in the seventh round, the Flyers dealt their final pick to the Canadiens in exchange for a 2020 seventh-rounder.

So how did Fletcher and Flahr do in their first draft with the Flyers? Let's recap the team's work in Vancouver, British Columbia.

First round, No. 14: Cam York, 5-11/172, D

Analysis: York is a threat whenever the puck is on his stick, which is often given his skill set. He set a USNTDP single-season record with 65 points in 63 games.

Quotable: "He's put up big numbers offensively. He's a talented guy and projects to be a very good defenseman for a long time." - Flahr

Second round, No. 34: Bobby Brink, 5-8/165, RW

Analysis: Not the fastest or biggest, but can flat-out score. Considered a first-round talent by many draft experts, Brink was the 2018-19 USHL Forward of the Year. 

Quotable: "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." - Flahr

Third round, No. 72: Ronald Attard, 6-4/205, D

Analysis: Took a crazy jump in 2018-19, earning USHL Player of the Year. Attard scored 30 goals — yes, as a defenseman — after totaling just 15 points in 2017-18.

Quotable: "It stands out no matter what level you're at when you're a defenseman. You score 30 goals, that's certainly an asset. We don't even necessarily project him as an offensive defenseman. He's a big body, he's physical, he has a mean streak." - Flahr

Fourth round, No. 103: Mason Millman, 6-1/175, D

Analysis: Smart, only 17 years old and was a plus-22 in his first OHL season.

Quotable: "Millman in the fourth, a defenseman two of our Ontario guys felt strongly about, that he has upside." - Flahr

Sixth round, No. 165: Egor Serdyuk, 5-11/165, RW

Analysis: Led all QMJHL rookies with 65 points (25 goals, 40 assists) in 63 games.

Quotable: "He has a good skill set, he has a nose for the net, he can score and his skating is fine. He needs to get stronger, he's going to have to learn to play away from the puck, but you can't teach his offensive tools." - Flahr

Sixth round, No. 169: Roddy Ross, 6-2/180, G

Analysis: Amateur scout Mark Greig and goaltender development coach Brady Robinson pushed hard for Ross, who was the 17th goalie taken in the draft.

Quotable: "He's a guy that came on the scene late. He's a big kid, he's got to grow into his body. He played very well down the stretch on an average team where he faced a lot of shots. He battled and Brady thinks he has pretty good fundamentals." - Flahr

Seventh round, No. 196: Bryce Brodzinski, 6-0/197, RW

Analysis: A high schooler with rich hockey bloodlines headed to the University of Minnesota.

Quotable: "When my brothers told me that they were better than me at something, I would work super hard at it when they weren’t looking." - Brodzinski, via David La Vaque of the Star Tribune

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