Prospect Ramblings: Brendan Brisson Zone Entries and Exits

by Josh Tessler on February 16, 2020

 

Brendan Brisson has emerged as one of the top draft-eligible prospects playing in the USHL. Brisson is the son of former QMJHL player and now renounced sports agent, Patrice Brisson, who represents several NHLers including John Tavares (Toronto Maple Leafs), Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks), Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks), Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins), Claude Giroux (Philadelphia Flyers), Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche) and Seth Jones (Columbus Blue Jackets). 

 

With hockey in his bloodlines, Brisson has become a rising star this season in the USHL. In 36 games played with the Chicago Steel this season, the Manhattan Beach, California native has tallied 22 goals and 22 assists. In addition, he suited up in six games for Team USA at the 2019 World Junior A Challenge (WJAC) in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. Due to his performance at the WJAC, in which he mustered up five goals and seven assists, draft analysts have raised Brisson’s ranking. Even though conference play is not always the best way to evaluate a prospect, the left-handed forward has played rather consistently over the course of the season. 

 

One of Brisson’s best attributes is his transitional play. Earlier today, I logged on to my ProspectShifts.com account and re-watched Brisson’s performance against Canada West at the WJAC. Rather quickly, I noticed just how flawless Brisson’s zone entry and zone exits were. In the chart below, you can take a look at his zone entry and zone exit numbers from the December 7, 2019 games against Canada West.

 

Prospect

Zone Entries

Zone Exits

Zone Exit Fails

Zone Entry Fails

Dump-Ins

Dump-Outs

Zone Exit Pass

Zone Entry Pass

Controlled Zone Entry

Controlled Zone Exit

Brendan Brisson

12

2

0

1

1

0

1

1

10

1

 

From the above table, you can see that Brisson was very effective in collecting the puck in the neutral zone and carrying the puck into the offensive zone. In total, Brisson had 12 offensive zone entries and he found sufficient space, which allowed him to skate the puck into the zone without needing pass or dump the puck in. Yet, for the most part, Brisson was not in control of the puck in his own zone. Instead, he would prefer to skate towards center ice and sit along the half-wall. At the half-wall, he would wait for a pass from one of his teammates and attempt to go into the zone. 

 

In last night’s game against the USNTDP U17 squad, Brisson was not as effective at getting the puck into the offensive zone, but he had a few more zone exits than he did against Canada West back in December. Below, you will see his zone entry and exit numbers from last night.

 

Prospect

Zone Entries

Zone Exits

Zone Exit Fails

Zone Entry Fails

Dump-Ins

Dump-Outs

Zone Exit Pass

Zone Entry Pass

Controlled Zone Entry

Controlled Zone Exit

Brendan Brisson

7

4

0

0

0

0

2

4

3

2

 

From the stats above, you will notice that when Brisson had possession of the puck in his own zone, 50% of the time, Brisson would opt to pass instead of carrying the puck out of his own zone. For zone entries, Brisson preferred to pass the puck to a teammate in the neutral zone and rely on his teammate to get the puck into the offensive zone rather than he skating the puck into the offensive zone himself. For example, below is a clip of Brisson completing a spin and pass in the neutral zone. He sees a man on him, so instead of attempting to carrying the puck into the zone, he opts to fake out his opponent by spinning and passing to his teammate Sam Colangelo. By doing so, this allows Colangelo to skate into the offensive zone and continue the rush. 

 

 

 

But, Brisson still had three controlled zone entries. In the below clip, you will see the forward collect a pass at center ice and skate into the offensive zone. With Brisson wide open and not much traffic on him, his teammate opts to fire a pass to him instead of skating up the ice with the puck. Unfortunately for Brisson, he walks into quite a bit of pressure and the play goes nowhere.

 

 

 

While zone entry and zone exit might seem like an irrelevant statistic, it is important. With zone entry and zone exits numbers, we can look at who is efficient at getting the puck out of his zone and who can drive the rush successfully into the offensive zone. While Brisson’s transitional numbers seem lower than his transitional numbers from his performance at the WJAC, we do see an improvement in Brisson’s play in the defensive zone. This is a good sign and hopefully, Brisson can continue to develop his defensive transitional game as it will help raise his draft stock.