2022-23 Team: University of Michigan (NCAA)
Date of Birth: October 5, 2004
Place of Birth: Estero, Florida, USA
Height: 5-foot-9, Weight: 157 pounds
Position: Right Wing / Center
NHL Draft Eligibility: First Year Eligible
Gavin Brindley is one of the most polarizing players in this year’s draft, with some viewing his skill and tenacity as legit NHL assets while others say his lack of size makes the rest of his game irrelevant. I’ll address the elephant in the room right away and tell you that Brindley is 5-foot-9, a full five inches shorter than his University of Michigan Wolverines teammate Adam Fantilli. Unlike Fantilli, Brindley’s size will never be viewed as a positive in the NHL, but they do have at least one thing in common. They’re both shift and dynamic puck carriers.
What Brindley lacks in size, he makes up for with every other possible facet of his game, from puck battles to physical play, from his incredible compete level to an excellent skating package. He is incredibly agile with and without the puck, and has the speed to really take advantage of his opponents’ weaknesses both off the rush and while forechecking.
It’s a rare sight to see Brindley standing still as he’s constantly moving and keeping the energy up for his team. He’s confident and strong enough to charge the middle of the ice and attack the net when opportunity arises, and he’s much better at protecting the puck that you would expect from a player of his size. Brindley has played up and down the lineup for the University of Michigan this year as a freshman and has settled in as one of their most heavily relied upon players.
Lots of shorter players are guys whose games are based on skill, limiting their utility and adaptability in the NHL. While Brindley does have the skill to possibly end up as a top-six skill guy, he also has the skating, energy, and tenacity to be a bottom-six forward with good offense and a respectable two-way game.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
Brindley was producing points at a good rate in the NCAA to start the season but was a bit unlucky. Ever since he returned from the World Junior Championship where he represented the Bronze medal winning Team USA, Brindley has seen his fortunes change in a big way, scoring at an incredible rate for the final two months of the season.
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