Gavin Brindley – 2023 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Gavin Brindley

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
Shoots: Right
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.

Gavin Brindley Michigan Wolverines
Gavin Brindley, Michigan Wolverines (Michigan Photography)

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.

He finished the regular season with 36 points in 38 games, good enough for fourth on the team behind elite NHL prospects like Luke Hughes and Fantilli. Brindley finished off the year hot with 14 points in his final 10 regular season games. It’s rare for a freshman, even one on the older end for their draft year, to score at such a high rate in the NCAA, and he finished the season second in scoring amongst all freshman behind only Fantilli.

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Gavin Brindley – NHL Draft Projection

Brindley is a player who I can’t nail down when it comes to his ultimate draft position. I’d be more than happy to take a stab at him in the early 20s, but shorter players almost always find themselves falling on draft day so my best guess is that a team with multiple picks in the 30-45 range will take a chance on him. He’s got enough potential and energy that I wouldn’t be shocked if he was taken inside the top-20, but it would still be a significant surprise despite him having earned that kind of spot.


“Brindley is an offensive-minded winger who, although undersized, plays a real hard-nosed type game. His shiftiness and ability to stickhandle through tight spaces are two attributes that really stuck out to me” – Mitch Savard, FCHockey

“He buzzes around the ice and does such a good job releasing from one battle or chance to hunting or getting open for the next one. He’s always moving.” – Scott Wheeler, The Athletic

“He is constantly on the move and plays with high intensity, frequently darting into open space and getting to the dirty areas to duke it out with the defense. As a smaller player, he does find himself physically outmatched at times around the net, but he does a great job peeling away from battles, and his quick acceleration can provide him with enough space to get a chance away before his man is able to close him down.” – Nick Richard, Dobber Prospects


  • Top speed
  • Agility
  • Compete level
  • High energy
  • Physical play/puck battles

Under Construction – Improvements to Make

  • Continue to develop defensive game
  • Build his shot into an NHL-caliber weapon

NHL Potential 

Brindley has a very wide range of potential outcomes, but the one I’d bet on the soonest is him becoming a great middle-six winger who plays with a ton of speed and provides good offense no matter where he lands in the lineup. He’ll likely earn time on both special teams because his puck-retrieval ability shines on both the power play and penalty kill. 


Risk – 2.5/5, Reward – 4/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense – 8.5/10, Defense – 7/10

Awards & Achievements

  • 2021-22 U18 World Junior Championship Silver Medal
  • 2022-23 U20 World Junior Championship Bronze Medal

Gavin Brindley Stats


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