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Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Flyers Prospect Bobby Brink Needs to Develop in AHL This Season

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The Philadelphia Flyers need a potential scorer like right winger Bobby Brink.

But they shouldn’t  rush him to the NHL this season. Be patient.

Brink, 21, who recently started playing for the AHL’s Phantoms after returning from hip surgery, was drafted 34th overall in 2019. His past training with the U.S. National Development Program helped him a lot.

With the Sioux City Musketeers, he was voted the USHL’s Forward of the Year in 2018-19. His 35 goals and 68 points were great, but he only played in 43 games. As a 5-foot-8, 166-pound player, Brink is at risk for injuries. He’s a fearless player who sometimes takes punishment to make a play or score a goal. The elusiveness isn’t there (yet) for a guy who is an average skater.

Building blocks

Winning a World Juniors gold medal in 2021, and an NCAA championship in 2022 with the University of Denver was next on the horizon. Both are great building blocks, but he missed games at Denver, too. In his final season there, he played in 41 games. He scored 14 goals with an NCAA-leading 57 points.

It shows what he can do when he’s healthy. The fact he was a Hobey Baker Award finalist as the nation’s top player is a great honor.

The hip injur, suffered in a workout last summer, caused him to miss significant development time for this season. So far, he has 11 professional games under his belt. Ten games with the Flyers last year, and one with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms this season.

Scoring a goal last week in his first game with Lehigh Valley was great, but his skating stride seemed to be shorter. That’s something that will take some time, post-surgery, and that’s why the Phantoms rested him after that first game.

Being out five months means, a missed camp, missed time with Flyers coach John Tortorella, and now getting thrown into the AHL. Brink can handle that. but rounding out his game and making sure he doesn’t take any big hits is as important as scoring.

Brink should spend the rest of the season with the Phantoms and see if he can be their best player. That’s important because next season the Philadelphia Flyers will have spots they need to fill with younger talent.

Brink could be a 20-goal scorer in the NHL if he can be an average NHL skater. His hockey sense and skill set are high. That can make up for a lot.

He needs to get through the rest of this season, and a great summer of training will give him a chance to compete for an NHL roster spot with the Philadelphia Flyers next season.

Russ Cohen is a prospects expert for sportsology.com and www.eprinkside.com, and he can be heard on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio.

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