The Chicago Steel have been a juggernaut in the USHL this season and they’ve been doing it with a balanced attack up front. One of the most prominent of those players in center Brendan Brisson, who has climbed his way up the ranks to become one of the top USHL-affiliated prospects in the 2020 draft.
The University of Michigan commit and California product is the son of top player agent Pat Brisson, which has made for some pretty unique experiences for Brendan. For instance, getting to actually hang out with one of his NHL favorites, Jonathan Toews.
“The Kings and Blackhawks were playing on Thanksgiving, so him and Kane came over,” Brisson said. “They’ve always been around my whole life. Learning from the best is special to me. Now that I’m in Chicago I’ll go to games and sometimes see them after.”
Like Toews (and fellow CAA clients Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon), Brisson went to Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school in Minnesota, where he took major steps both on and off the ice.
“Shattuck was amazing,” he said. “I went there for my sophomore year and learned a lot as an underager on the U-16 team. And it wasn’t even the hockey side; just as a person. You grow up so much there. You have to do your own laundry, take care of your school work. You get held accountable there, for sure. All three years were amazing, it’s a special place there and I’ll always cherish it.”
Brisson is getting a similar bump with the Steel, where the top-end organization has set up its players for success.
“It’s just the mindset every day of getting better,” Brisson said. “All the resources coming together really makes it easier to succeed as a player and a team. We take it really seriously here.”
Though he may not have been on the front-burner when the season began, Brisson has pushed himself into the first-round conversation thanks to his play with the Steel; he’s one of the top scorers in the USHL with 46 points in 38 games and helped Team USA win bronze at the World Jr. A Challenge in December. Scouts love his smarts and his skill level, while his one-timer is his best option in the offensive zone. The youngster needs to get stronger and faster, but there’s a lot to like about his game already.
And if he needs any pointers, he’s got a couple of high-profile friends he can call.
Here are 10 other 2020 draft prospects making noise right now:
Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL) – It’s getting unfair in the ‘Q’ as Lafreniere has been on a rampage. The consensus No. 1 prospect has 15 points in his past five games, including a seven-point outing against the Quebec Remparts.
Dylan Holloway, LW, University of Wisconsin (Big Ten) – The Badgers are struggling but Holloway is finding his groove with five points in his past four games. The true freshman is a great skater who can shoot the puck.
Cole Perfetti, LW, Saginaw Spirit (OHL) – He started the year snake-bit and now he can’t miss. Perfetti, one of the top prospects around, has 22 points in his past 10 games. Vision is one of his best strengths.
Ian Moore, D, St. Mark’s Lions (Mass. HS) – The top New England prep school prospect, Moore is an excellent skater with great size and a confident offensive game. He’s a Harvard commit.
Maxim Groshev, RW, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (KHL) – With points in his past two games, Groshev is holding his own in the KHL, despite minimal minutes. The kid also plays a great physical game.
Zion Nybeck, RW, HV71 (Swe.) – The sizzling scorer has seven points in his past three games of SuperElit Top 10 action, a circuit featuring the best junior teams in Sweden.
Jake Neighbours, LW, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) – Talented and happy to battle, Neighbours is in the midst of a 10-game streak that has seen him rack up 15 points.
Drew Commesso, G, U.S. NTDP (USHL) – With NHL size and great stats, Commesso is putting together a very nice draft campaign. The Boston University commit hasn’t given up more than two goals in a game in more than a month (ironically, he gave up three against B.U. before that).
Jack Finley, C, Spokane Chiefs (WHL) – A big kid at 6-foot-5, 205 pounds, Finley is solid on faceoffs, good in his own end and has nine points in his past six games.
Donovan Sebrango, D, Kitchener Rangers (OHL) – The Rangers have been hot and that’s great for Sebrango’s visibility. Skating and mobility are his biggest assets on the blueline. Dropped the gloves at the CHL Top Prospects Game, too.
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