Brink a nice underdog story to start Flyers' season originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The track record for Bobby Brink hasn't always been immediate attention.
Despite growing up in Minnesota, a hockey hotbed of a state, the undersized winger went to Denver for college. The Pioneers identified Brink when he was a high school freshman before the local programs could pounce.
"At the time of us recruiting him, I think we were the only school talking to him," Denver head coach David Carle said in April 2020. "There are five schools in the state of Minnesota, right? I think Bob has always, for whatever reason, been doubted a little bit."
At the 2019 NHL draft, he waited out the spectacle of Day 1 and never heard his name called. He was taken the following day in the second round by the Flyers. His 5-foot-8, 165-pound frame and "different" skating stride likely caused reservation.
"It's motivation that teams passed up on you," Brink said in June that summer.
Last season, as the Flyers gave opportunities to young players, he had to think of next year and plug away with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. After a lengthy rehab from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip, Brink didn't start his season until January and was still working his way back.
But here is now with the Flyers and surprising people, like he has before ever since coming up in Minnetonka.
The 22-year-old was a dark horse to make the big club's roster out of training camp. He had a big preseason and won a job. On Thursday night, he was scoring the first two goals of his NHL career, strengthening his case to stick with the Flyers.
"I've faced some adversity," Brink said after his team's 6-2 win over the Wild at the Wells Fargo Center. "I think that adversity kind of makes it even more special. To get it here at home in front of Philly fans, just living here, you see how special it is to be on a sports team in Philadelphia."
In six games this season, Brink has four points (two goals, two assists) and a plus-4 rating. He's helping make up a youthful line with Noah Cates and Joel Farabee. His smarts and vision have been as advertised.
In 16 career NHL games, Brink has recorded two goals and six assists, giving him more points so far than nine first-round picks from the 2019 class. This season, through the first two and a half weeks, only four picks from the entire 2019 class have outscored Brink: Jack Hughes, Cole Caufield, Moritz Seider and Dylan Cozens, all top-15 selections.
"I'm happy for him," Tortorella said of Brink netting his first two goals. "As much as I think he knows and we know how well he has played, scorers want the goals, so I'm happy for him. He has put a lot of work into it."