2016-17 Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (#2)
Date of Birth: June 17, 1999
Place of Birth: Yorkton, Saskatchewan
Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 185 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2017 first-year eligible
- THW (Pike’s Picks): not ranked (final)
- Future Considerations: 57th (final)
- ISS: not ranked (May)
- Bob McKenzie: 73rd (Mid-season)
- Craig Button: not ranked (final)
- The Hockey News: 49th (final)
According to the NHL’s Central Scouting Service, Moose Jaw Warriors defender Josh Brook is the 13th-best North American defenseman available in the 2017 draft class. Ranked 50th among North American skaters, Brook has the poor luck to be coming of draft age at the same time as several blueliners with borderline elite attributes. While Brook may lack the flash of some of his counterparts, his steak is good enough that he doesn’t need to rely on sizzle.
The book on Brook is fairly straightforward: he does everything well and nothing particularly poorly. He’s the type of defenseman that doesn’t stand out for much of the game, aside from a handful of little plays that make scouts go “Oh, that was a smart move.” He’ll pinch at the right time or provide support to a board battle at the right time; he’s got the awareness of game situations to know when to make his gambles and when to avoid them. He plays a pro style of game, but his success isn’t predicated on using his frame against undersized WHL teenagers – he relies on strong positioning and smart plays with and without the puck to succeed. He had 10 points in 30 games as a 16-year-old and 40 points in 69 games as a 17-year-old. The latter number is an easy indication of how much trust coach Tim Hunter had in him; he was played in virtually every situation and came away from most games looking good, even if his team didn’t have amazing results.
Ultimately, Brook is a very good but not great WHL defender. He is where he is in the draft rankings simply because he’s a good all-around player that lacks any elite attributes. But he plays a smart, composed game in all three zones and plays a style of hockey that could easily translate to the higher levels of the game because it’s not predicated on physical dominance but rather his on-ice smarts. If he can fill out physically and round out his game a bit, he could be a very good pro in a short amount of time.
NHL Draft Projection
Based on projections, Brook will likely go in the third or fourth round.
“A smart play reader who can be a shutdown cornerstone as well as an offensive contributor…overall speed game isn’t flattering but the edge work and quick bursts of acceleration allots him the amount of time he needs to be effective…not a big puck rusher who skates the puck up ice consistently, but with his vision and ability to consistently hit the tape of teammates with hard passes makes him effective at moving the puck…handles himself in a composed manner with the puck and shows patience when making a play out of his own end…” – Future Considerations.
“He’s really played well for us. [We’re] trying to make sure that we manage his development. Josh is a highly skilled, good skating, puck moving defenseman and he’s done a lot of that so far. Trying to put him in the right situations where he’s comfortable and has success, and I think he’s going to have a great year for us.” – Tim Hunter, Moose Jaw Warriors head coach.
- Good on-ice vision and hockey sense
- Good passer
- Strong positional defender
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Has a frame that could support more muscle
- Could add some meanness to his physical game
- Could improve his skating, in terms of his first couple steps (to counter incoming offensive forwards)
Second or third pairing defender with offensive upside.
Risk – 1/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense 8/10, Defense 8/10
Josh Brook represented Canada at the World Under-17 Challenge, the Under-18 Worlds and the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.