Looking at Brendan Brisson's Progress

Brendan Brisson is a rare first-round draft pick who's staying around with the Vegas Golden Knights. What can he do to cement his place on the team?
Vegas Golden Knights v Toronto Maple Leafs
Vegas Golden Knights v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

The 2024 NHL Draft is coming up on June 28 at the Sphere. Las Vegas has become the go-to destination for everything related to the NHL, which includes the 2022 All-Star Game and the 2017 Expansion Draft. That's what happens when a team that's instantly successful like the Vegas Golden Knights enters the league.

But there's an interesting tidbit with that success that would frighten 2020 first-round draft pick Brendan Brisson. The Golden Knights have been notorious for trading first-round picks during their franchise history. That included Zach Dean, Nick Suzuki, and Cody Glass. While some trades have been beneficial for the team (Glass), some haven't been as much in retrospect (Suzuki). Still, the University of Michigan alum remains, hoping to etch a name for himself with the team.

That goes back to the phenomenon of cause and effect. When a person (or team) does a particular action, that has consequences that affect the team. Whether it's trading a good prospect away or eating extra-spicy food, the result can be devastating (or helpful) for the recipient. For Vegas, getting high-level talent caused the team to become depleted of younger prospects.

But let's look at Brisson and see what the young forward can offer and improve for the team. He can avoid a similar fate suffered by Vegas's previous first-round picks, etching himself in the team's plans. After all, they're hard-pressed to find any current cap space, meaning they must rely on younger talent to cushion the future.

What are the strengths of Brendan Brisson?

Brendan Brisson has the offensive capabilities of a top-six forward, with his hands, vision, and speed combined into a singular threat. Keep in mind that Brisson finished the season with two goals and six assists in 15 games. He even added a power play goal and a power play assist for his troubles. He also can finish, receiving a pass and pulling off a jaw-dropping shot. Just look at his first goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he scored the game-winning goal.

Taking a tricky feed from Ivan Barbashev and making the play look easy, that's what the Vegas Golden Knights get with Brisson. With his offensive skills and ability to finish, he can impact the team going down the road. Granted, Barbashev is known for his hockey IQ, which sets up the play. But the University of Michigan alum finishes that play, helping Vegas win the game.

One thing that stands out with the Los Angeles native is his ability with one-timers. He's excellent at taking the feed and finishing the play, which goes back to that goal against the Penguins. For the forward, the Golden Knights might stick with him for the long run if he continues to develop himself in this aspect.

Developing Brisson further

Brendan Brisson can elevate his game by adding some strength. He weighs 179 lbs. and is a lightweight on the ice. Therefore, bulking up will help him in the long run. The former first-round pick doesn't have the best skating on the ice, so adding more muscle will make him a good all-around player (sans the speed).

There are underlying questions about the team's direction this offseason. Who do they re-sign in free agency? What draft prospects look good for Vegas and their plans? Such questions can impact the team moving forward, with some plans including the former Michigan Wolverine.

Overall, Brisson can avoid the same fate suffered from previous former first-round picks for the Vegas Golden Knights. His upside shows promise for a team void of younger talent, with his ability to fill a role at season's start. If the Los Angeles native can add muscle during the offseason, he can establish himself in the Golden Knights lineup for the future.