2020-21 Team: USNTDP Juniors
Date of Birth: March 31, 2003
Place of Birth: Barrington, Illinois
Ht: 5-foot-9 Wt: 174 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligibility
- NHL Central Scouting: 24th (amongst NA skaters)
- THW Forbes’ Top 128: 41st
- THW Zator’s Top 100: 48th
- THW Baracchini’s Top 100: 50th
- Dobber Prospects (March 2021): 53rd
- Future Scope Hockey: 19th
- TSN/Bob McKenzie: 57th
Behrens finished tied for sixth in scoring on the USNTDP U18 roster this season and second among defensemen, although Luke Hughes would have tallied more points if not for an injury. His six power-play goals were third on the team and easily first among defensemen.
Related: 2021 NHL Draft Guide
His greatest asset is by far his skating. Not only does it allow him to lead the offense, but he also has the ability to close gaps quickly and efficiently. While he doesn’t have remarkable top speed, his quick acceleration is a huge asset at both ends of the ice.
Behrens’ patience, vision, and creativity in the offensive zone are the reasons for his high assist totals. His decision-making is superb, knowing when and when not to hold onto the puck in both the defensive and offensive zones. Because of his strong decision-making, Behrens can at times break the stereotype that small defensemen cannot be defensively reliable.
However, a 5-foot-9 defenseman is a gamble for any NHL franchise. Despite a solid build for his small stature, his lack of physicality in the defensive zone is an issue. It’s easy for shorter players to get beat along the boards, and it won’t get easier for Behrens as he plays against more talented players later in his career.
He uses strong positioning to make up for this deficiency on occasion, but his poor play in tight spaces is due to his small stature. He will attend the University of Denver next season as he continues to grow into an NHL defenseman.
Sean Behrens – 2021 NHL Draft Projection
Behrens is projected to be a second-rounder in almost every draft ranking. Some are very high on the Illininois-native, believing he possesses first-round talent, however that is a little rich for me. Behrens has talent, but there’s no telling at this point in his career if his skill will make up for his size. I see him taken in the mid-to-late second round.
“Sean Behrens is your modern-day offensive defenseman. Although he’s undersized in some scouts eyes (5’9″), he certainly makes up for it with his amazing on-ice awareness, his hockey IQ, and willingness to play a much larger role physically than his frame shows. On top of that, Behrens is also really good in transition. He uses an impressive combination of speed, skill, and intelligence to elude defenders and set up teammates with scoring chances several times each game” – Paul Zuk, Smaht Scouting
“Behrens is one of the best rush defenders I’ve watched for this draft, and one of the best in recent draft memory. He’s certainly the best on the NTDP, which speaks to how dedicated he is to both sides of his game. He’s incredibly patient, and chooses the perfect time to make his move. Behrens can either back up with the puck carrier and poke the puck away with his extended stick, or he can close the gap with a single stride, taking the puck away in the process. He averaged 11 challenges per game, 6 in the defensive zone, and won 56% of them overall. In addition, he averaged 5 takeaways per game (all via InStat Hockey). The thing that I’m most impressed with about Behrens is his ability to turn a play all by himself” – Alex Taxman, Future Scope Hockey
“On top of his skating ability, he has nice puck control and hands to make plays in all areas of the ice, especially on the breakout. He has excellent vision and sees the ice well to make very good passes. Behrens can shoot the puck too, as his shot is accurate, but is definitely more of a passer. Even while being undersized, Behrens plays a great defensive game. He used his stick to break up plays and to push the puck up ice and out of the zone. He also has shown he can use his body as well” – Clare McManus, Dobber Prospects
- Power-play Quarterback
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Board Play
This is the million-dollar question. A decent comparison for Behrens is a Sam Girard-type defenseman. However, if he never hits that level, I don’t think less capable small defensemen will earn a spot in the NHL. I land somewhere in the middle and say Behrens projects to be a low-tier, second-pairing defenseman who can quarterback a first or second power-play unit.
Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7.5/10, Defense – 5/10
Sean Behrens Statistics
Josh is a young writer from the Bay Area, who now studies journalism at San Diego State University. In addition to covering the Sharks and Gulls for THW, Josh is a crossover scout at FCHockey and covers his school’s hockey team at TheDailyAztec. When not obsessing over hockey, Josh loves blasting music with friends, theatre, and playing with his dog. Follow Josh on Twitter for his latest takes on the Sharks, Gulls, and NHL Draft!