Prospect Report: Sean Behrens
Sean Behrens is going to skyrocket up rankings this season. If he weren’t 5’8, I’m confident he would already be heralded as a top 10 prospect amongst the scouting community. He’s firmly in my preseason top 10, and I don’t expect him to slide very far, if at all. Behrens hails from Barrington, Illinois, where he spent his minor hockey days playing for the Chicago Mission program. This past season, he joined the USNTDP and played the majority of the season with the U17’s, also getting into 6 games with the U18’s. With the U17’s Behrens scored 5 goals and added 16 assists for 21 points in 31 USHL games. He had a goal and two assists in his short stint with the U18’s as well. He’ll be heading to a great program in University of Denver at the start of the 2022-2023 season.
Behrens’s skating is one of the cornerstones of his game. He’s got near elite four-way mobility, and the only thing missing is an elite top speed. He’s still quite fast when he gets going, but he doesn’t have that light-footed effortless speed like Quinn Hughes. His mobility makes him a really valuable player in transition and on the blue line already, but there is still some room for improvement when it comes to speed. He uses crossovers in the neutral zone, but not to gain speed. He employs them as a deception strategy to hide his path, and it works super well. Behrens averaged 2.65 successful entries and 3.4 breakouts per game, making him one of the top options on the U17’s. Overall, his skating ability is a big plus, and has the potential to get even better. This shorthanded goal he scored is the best example I could pull of Behrens going end to end in a straight line:
Not super fast, but not slow at all.
Behrens has a pretty slick pair of hands, not in the sense that he’s a dangler, but that he maintains solid puck control at all times. In addition, his passing ability is beyond elite, which I’ll touch on more in the vision category, but it’s a big plus in this department as well.
His wrist shot from the point is very accurate, but lacks power at this point. The same can be said about his slap shot, but his one timer is pretty fantastic. Sometimes he’ll drop down to a knee to get more power, and it’s lethal when he does:
That aforementioned accuracy also aids him in making solid slap passes. He definitely isn’t a main shooting option at 5 on 5 or on the power play, but it isn’t a weakness.
This is where Behrens separates himself from the rest of the pack. He sees the ice incredibly well, and more importantly, makes the right decision 90% of the time. While his teammate Luke Hughes has a much better all around physical toolkit, Hughes’s decision making gets him into trouble often. Behrens’s however, does not. If Behrens had Luke’s size and skating ability, he’d be a lock for a lottery pick. When I say that Behrens separates himself from the rest of the pack in this department, that could be an understatement. His passing percentage from this past season is a nauseating 83%. That’s just stupid good. His absolute lowest recorded single game percentage is 65.5% (via InStat Hockey). For those wondering the actual numbers, he averaged 26 pass attempts per game, completing 22 of them. Again, that’s just stupid good. He can run a power play, make plays off the rush, and create chances consistently at 5 on 5. Check out his patience with the puck in the offensive zone before making a play:
He’ll be a big time power play quarterback in college, and likely in the pros too.
Behrens is one of the best rush defenders I’ve watched for this draft, and one of the best in recent draft memory. He’s certainly the best on the NTDP, which speaks to how dedicated he is to both sides of his game. He’s incredibly patient, and chooses the perfect time to make his move. Behrens can either back up with the puck carrier and poke the puck away with his extended stick, or he can close the gap with a single stride, taking the puck away in the process. He averaged 11 challenges per game, 6 in the defensive zone, and won 56% of them overall. In addition, he averaged 5 takeaways per game (all via InStat Hockey). The thing that I’m most impressed with about Behrens is his ability to turn a play all by himself. Watch him go from shutting down a rush or possession to creating a rush for his team:
The way he closes gaps is phenomenal, and the defensive issues usually associated with smaller players certainly do not apply in his situation.
This is the only department where Behrens is somewhat lacking. He’s a small guy and doesn’t engage in contact much, but I don’t see it being a major deficiency throughout his career. The rest of the tools he possesses more than make up for his lack of physical play.
Sean Behrens is a fantastic player, and brings so much more to the game than one would expect. I can’t wait to watch him put the preconceived notion of small defenders being incompetent to bed.
Thanks for reading!