Flyers prospect Bobby Brink is taking the “hard road” to NHL debut

Four days ago, Bobby Brink provided an overtime assistant to beat Michigan at TD Garden and send Denver to the national title fight.

On Monday, two days after winning the NCAA Championship, Brink was on the ice at the Flyers Training Center and teammates again with Michigan product Cam York. Brink and York were part of the same 2019 Flyers draft class and won a gold medal along with the United States at the IIHF World Junior Championship 2021.

Did Brink do anything wrong with sending York’s alma mater home from The Frozen Four?

“No. If he did, I would beat him,” York said jokingly with a laugh.

No need to. Brink is a kind of quieter, let-my-play-do-talk-type. His play has led him to the NHL in an impressive rise despite the fact that his 5-foot-9, 166-pound frame has cast doubt on some along the way.

The 20-year-old right winger signed his entry-level deal on Sunday and will make his NHL debut on Tuesday when the Flyers visit the Capitals (19.00 ET / ESPN).

“It’s been a tough road, a lot of work has been put into reaching this moment,” Brink said Monday after his first training session with the Flyers. “Obviously, it’s a dream come true to be here and play a game. It’s definitely really special.”

Zack Hill / Philadelphia Flyers

Back in June 2019, Brink waited all day 1 of the draft and never heard his name called. The following day, the Flyers switched up in the second round to catch him in an overall 34th place. They saw him as a talent in the first round and were not so worried about his “different” skating steps or smaller stature.

This season, less than three years after the 2019 draft, Brink led the country in points (57) and assists (43), was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award (top college player) and hoisted the national championship trophy.

“He’s just a smart player,” York said. “You see him outside the ice and you do not think he is super powerful or anything like that and then he comes on the ice, he is just a really smooth skater, silky soft with the puck and makes good games all over the ice.”

Brink, one of the Flyers’ best prospects, is highly regarded for outsmarting the opposition. His wisdom and vision have taken him far.

“The sense of hockey, competitiveness and of course the ability to agree to it,” said Flyers interim head coach Mike Yeo. “Those have been the things that seem to be mentioned immediately after when someone talks about him and the game he brings.

“You draft such a player and you know his skill level and that’s why you draft him in a high position. One of my first memories was that I saw him with the world juniors and I remember him on penalty kicks that blocked shots, kind of do what he could to help the team win.Of course a character kid.Some kids may not get the opportunity for power play that they are usually used to, but for him he was willing to take any preferably role and shine in it. It’s a good quality to have. “

Yeo was asked for an example of a player he previously coached who broke the size argument. He referred to the wild defender and captain Jared Spurgeon.

“Not the same type of player, he’s clearly a defensive player, but he was a guy who was almost basically written off because of his size,” Yeo said. “He’s a perfect example of a guy who knows the odds are basically against him. That’s why he makes sure he’s ready to play every single day, takes advantage of every opportunity and plays the game so well with his head.

“For smaller players, you have to be able to think about the game and you have to be competitive. Based on what I’ve heard and what I’ve seen so far, [Brink] seems to have the two qualities. “

Brink, who is based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, won the national title in Boston on Saturday night and then flew to Philadelphia and signed his deal on Sunday. He will meet his NHL dream in Washington, DC

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, it’s been really busy,” Brink said, “but it’s been great.”

How many text messages has he received in the last three days?

“A lot,” Brink said with a smile. “A lot of people have reached out and said congratulations. It’s been great, it feels good.”

Last season, York signed his entry-level deal after his second year in Michigan and made his NHL debut with the Flyers.

“It’s also nice to have a guy like Cam here who’s played a lot of games this year,” Brink said. “Just another guy who’s been great to welcome me. It’s been great.”

What is York’s advice to Brink?

“Just play your game,” York said. “Of course it’s the bright lights, it’s the NHL, you think you have to do something a little different now that you’re up here, but it’s the same game. We’ve been playing hockey our whole lives, and nothing changes Just play your game, do your thing and go and have fun. “

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