USHL Report – April 2019
It is always exciting covering prospects from the USHL. Draft evaluations begin to take over this time of year. However, there is always time for the latest from the league. Overall, it was a month of great plays, saves, and more.
Two things stood out in the last month. One is that we are a month closer to the NHL Draft and the other is the top-notch performances. The regular season ends on Saturday so let’s look back.
A hat trick of sorts for Bobby Brink
This month’s “Player Of The Month” has to be Bobby Brink, who took home player of the week honors three straight weeks. Last week, Brink had two goals and three assists in three games. Overall on the season, the forward has 67 points in 42 games.
The best part about Brink is that he is a 30-30 guy…the first one in the league since Rem Pitlick. Pitlick also won the award five times and ultimately was named “Player Of The Year” for 2015-16. He was the 29th ranked skater in North America as of January. That ranking likely rises now. The argument that he is an “A-skater” may have some merit.
What Brink does better than most players his age is his poise with the puck. He does not panic in traffic and does not lose the handle in traffic either. His shot is better than most goalies think. Often, Brink has them beat before they even know it. That is because of his release which can be argued is AHL maybe NHL caliber already.
The Sioux City Muskateer is a Denver University commit. Everything about his game starts with speed on both sides of the ice. His size is of little concern because his ability to accelerate is among the best in the USHL. His relentless tenacity makes up for maybe not having the longest stride. Brink is listed at 5 foot 10 inches but is probably an inch or two shorter.
The question is what do scouts think of the 30-30 season for Brink in the grand context of things. There are many positives and playing for Denver should help work on any shortcomings. His development curve should allow Brink time to round out his game, sign an entry level contract, then move on to the AHL. Brink has that much promise.
More News and Notes
A name to keep an eye on is Matthew Thiessen. Thiessen has had a bit of a rough season for Dubuque but posted a 44 save shutout which includes at least 15 high-danger chances against. Thiessen earned this shutout in every single way. Do not let his record that hovers around .500 fool you, the Dubuque goalie is developing nice and slowly in the USHL. Thiessen committed to the University of Maine in the Fall and was the 192nd overall pick in the NHL Draft by the Vancouver Canucks. Expect Thiessen to be a four-year player for Maine as he works up the depth chart. His raw skills are there but again, he is a raw goalie who needs work.
John Driscoll is another player who deserves a little bit of a spotlight as he set up four goals over the weekend including three primary assists. The Central Illinois Fighting Ace is just moving up the depth charts for Central Illinois. He has not committed to anywhere just yet.
The other name garnering defensive attention is Hank Sorensen. He is up to double digits in assists over the last month including one week where he had six helpers. The Waterloo blueliner leads the league in points among defensemen with 41 and is second in the league with 34 assists. He expects to play for Northern Michigan come the Fall.
That is all for now. You can follow me on Twitter @ChrisWasselDFS for the latest hockey and hockey prospect news. See you next month with the latest from the USHL.
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- Robinson: Final 2019 NHL Draft Rankings (Part 2)
- Prospect Deep Dive: Kirby Dach
- Robinson: Final 2019 NHL Draft Rankings (Part 3)
- Robinson: Four (More) Bold Predictions for the NHL Draft
- Hedlund: Top Swedish Prospects for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft
- Prospect Deep Dive: Arthur Kaliyev
- Prospect Ramblings: 2019 NHL draft by the numbers