June 15, 2021

Spotlight: Sean Behrens

Spotlight is a feature highlighting NHL Draft eligibles and giving a peek into what makes them an intriguing prospect ahead of the 2021 NHL Draft. This edition features Sean Behrens of the US National Team Development Program. 

Date of Birth: March 31, 2003
Position: D
Team: USA U18 National Team (NTDP U18)
Height: 5’9”
Weight: 176lbs
Shoots: L

Had a solid offensive season on the national team

Behrens had a very productive season on the national team, especially with Luke Hughes sidelined near the end of the year with an injury. Behrens racked up 35 points in 46 games, second to only Aidan Hreschuk on the blueline. Then, Behrens had the opportunity to represent his country at the U18s, where he donned an ‘A’ alongside Hreschuk and captain Red Savage, and emerged as USA’s number one defenseman as the tournament progressed. 

Heading to the University of Denver next season

Behrens will head off to play at the University of Denver next season, a program that has developed many NHL players. Denver has been a very strong team in recent years, including their national championship back in 2017, under head coach David Carle. In fact, the program’s only two Hobey Baker winners are both defensemen (Will Butcher and Matt Carle), so Behrens should be in good hands at Denver. 

Could be the second American blueliner taken in 2021

If the 2021 NHL Draft unfolds anywhere close to what the current consensus is, Behrens could be the second USA national team defenseman taken after Luke Hughes. Currently, Behrens projects to be a late first round pick, though there is a chance he could fall further due to his size. Whichever team ends up drafting him in July will be betting on a defenseman who can improve his skating in order to capitalize more often on his offensive instincts, but also a player who is responsible in his own end. 

What the experts say:

“Behrens’ ceiling is extremely high, but I do worry that his floor may be quite low at this point, making him a high-risk, high-reward player. There are aspects of his game that really stand out, at both ends of the spectrum. His instincts are very, very good, but I think that his mind may work faster than his hands and feet.” – FCHockey video scout Josh Bell

“Behrens can play on both sides of the puck and displayed that in this game. He consistently found ways to drive the puck from the point to lower and deeper in the zone and was also able to jump up into a number of rush attempts. I found his reading and anticipation of the play to be really good and part of why he was able to be effective on both sides of the puck… Overall, I think Behrens has some intriguing parts to his game that could make him a solid two-way contributor as a depth NHL defender.” – FCHockey head East scout Dylan Galloway

Behrens is an enjoyable player to watch because of his speed, his pacing and the chip that he has on his shoulder. It’s clear that he is comfortable being a focal point for his team and that he wants to make a serious difference… Projects well as a pacey, possession-driving defenseman at even strength, but doesn’t seem to have a ton of pure offensive upside. Very similar player to Matt Grzelcyk in Boston. If a team encourages him to keep leaning into and maximizing his strengths, then he’ll have a great shot at carving out an NHL role as a puck-moving specialist. – FCHockey director of video scouting Derek Neumeier 

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