The NY Rangers currently have a second 1st round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft that will be in the 21-24 range. There are a lot of good targets for the Rangers in that range. None will be Alexis Lafreniere, but the Rangers will land talent given the depth of the draft. The scouting report on Brendan Brisson as a top rated skater who excels when put in a playmaking role. The 5’11, 180 lb center/wing put up 24-35-59 in 45 games last season in the USHL.
It’s worth noting that I am no draft expert. I did a lot of Googling and Youtubing. You should be checking out sites like Future Considerations, Elite Prospects, Dobber Hockey, and others on Twitter (@SternScouting, @ManUtdTobbe, @aj_ranger, and I’m sure I missed a bunch).
Gifted Skater and Playmaker
Brisson certainly doesn’t need to work on his skating, like a few others we’ve profiled here. Brisson already shows solid acceleration, generating separation between him and defenders. He complements that with a good, but not great, top speed. There’s always room for improvement, but his skating is up there in this draft. He’s also great with changing directions, showing tremendous agility, which again helps him when shaking off defenders.
Brisson is at his best when he is in the playmaker role. He has great vision and hockey IQ, which he uses to read the play and set up his teammates. Brisson’s hands are just as quick as his feet and mind, which means he’s not leaving the puck behind him or making mistakes because the hands couldn’t catch up.
Brisson’s shot is deceptively quick and accurate. The quick hands go a long way to getting off a sneaky shot with a quick release. His slap shot is good and accurate. On the powerplay, he likes to set up at the top of the circle on his off-hand. The USA announcer called him “Mr. Snipe.” This is critical, since as a pass-first player, having a good shot keeps teams honest when defending.
He’s not an overly physical forward, preferring not to work the outside and set up his teammates in front. That not necessarily a bad thing, as he still gets to high danger areas for offensive chances. He is also good at protecting the puck, as we saw in the third highlight above.
Defensively, Brisson is certainly a three zone player with an eye for back checking. He reads the play well, much like he does offensively, to try to create turnovers and transition the puck quickly the other way. He’s not a guy to give up on a play either. He will ensure he is back and in position defensively.
Brisson, like almost every 18 year old, needs to add some muscle. He has good balance on his skates, but will get better as he fills out. Same with this shot, which will get better and stronger as he adds muscle.
Much like all the others at this range, Brisson is not going to jump to the NHL immediately. Since strength is an issue, committing to Michigan next season is a good thing. The scouting report on Brendan Brisson projects him as a middle-six forward. He would have more value if he sticks at center, but that’s still up in the air.