Sean Behrens is a 5-10, 176-pound defenseman who can do a lot of things out on the ice. If teams focus on what he can do, he’s a sure-fire, second-round pick, and maybe a late first. When you couple in the fact that he’s committed to the University of Denver, a strong program that will develop him the right way.
“One of the reasons I chose the NTDP, and the college route was to work on my strength. Growing up, I wasn’t the strongest kid, but the two years at the NTDP helped me a lot,” said Behrens. “Stronger on my skate, on my feet, and be able to knock players off pucks. That will continue in Denver, and I’m already having a good summer here. Being a little stronger and being able to compete against older and stronger guys.”
His skating can be refined, and it will be. As he heads up the ladder one of his best attributes is his hockey I.Q. He thinks defense first, and the way he seals off the opposition from the puck is all technique.
“I think it’s something that I worked on,” Behrens stated. “Especially this year with coach Muse. This year I wanted to work on my defensive game and take a stride forward. It’s something I needed to do to get to the next level. I’m a smaller guy, with a low center of gravity, so knowing how to use my leverage. Lift their stick. Maybe push on their hips to get them off the puck.”
Behrens played over 20 minutes a game for the NTDP. He got power-play time, he played the penalty kill, and according to InStat, he won 57% of his puck battles showing how strong his compete is.
“No, not at all. The game is starting to trend smaller with more agile quicker guys,” he quickly answered. “We kind of have a step up on the bigger guys. Not necessarily defenseman but forwards like Cole Caufield and the success he had. Being able to have that quickness, as a smaller guy, defending with your brain, defending with your feet is going to be a big thing moving forward.”
Puck moving isn’t a problem for Behrens, and at times he looks like a forward doing it. There’s a reason why.
“I was a forward until I was nine or ten years old. My dad moved me back to defense. I was kind of struggling at forward a little bit. Being one of the better players, having to do everything yourself. Going back to defense, I was able to use my vision and be able to see everything in front of me to make plays. Make that good first pass. Being able to jump up past people.”
Defenseman will make mistakes. It’s a hard position and dealing with that is something Behrens understands well.
“Mistakes in hockey, it’s a fast-paced game. It’s a game of mistakes. You learn from what you’re doing wrong and what’s not working. That’s a big part of my game,” Behrens revealed. “Not making the same mistake twice. Whether it be a bad jump and giving up a 2-on-1 and having that in the back of your mind to make sure you right that wrong. On video or whether you try and cure it when you get back to the bench. Having that confidence to play offense and jump at the same time.”
Height is still an issue, and Behrens told me it was mentioned on the Zoom calls.
“A couple of teams have,” he admitted. “It’s a question you have to ask if you’re an NHL team. It doesn’t matter. That’s their opinion. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5-10 or 6-4, it’s how you compete. A lot of teams aren’t too concerned with my size, but there are definitely some that are.”
We talked a lot about speed and skating, and that’s when this gem of a story came out.
“When we were playing Russian in Kazan at the U17 Four Nations Finals, I was wearing my skates from U14 to U17 in December,” he laughed. “The end of the second period, and all my rivets fell out of one side of my skate. I was skating, and half my skate was coming off. I kind of panicked and had to get that fixed before the third period. Luckily it was. Shout out to “Snake” to him for that. Ever since I switch them and keep them fresh.”
He likes the Cubs. He’s not the biggest fan of deep-dish Pizza. He plays on the penalty kill, and he blocks shots. The team that gets him will be getting a quality player. The ones who pass on him could regret it.