As the Denver Pioneers embark on a journey to the Frozen Four in search of their ninth national championship title there’s another reason for Colorado Avalanche fans to cheer on the local college program. Freshman defenseman Sean Behrens has been a staple on the blueline for the contending Pioneers and just so happens to be an Avalanche draft pick and currently one of their top prospects.
Selected at 61st overall in the 2021 NHL entry draft it was a pleasant surprise Behrens was available that late into the second round after a successful final season at the US National Development Program where he posted 18 points in 23 games. Though he is smaller in stature at 5-foot 11 and 177 lbs Behrens plays with a feisty brand of physicality in his game in addition to superb puck-moving abilities which is what caught the attention of Colorado’s amateur scouts.
In his first season at the University of Denver, it has been a steady climb up the lineup to top-pairing minutes and running one of the best offenses in the country. Behrens has a big part of a very successful power play and considering he just turned 19-years old just days ago is a lot of trust and responsibility for a young player. Behrens’ puck-moving ability is tailor-made for the Avalanche and at times is uncanny, especially in this goal he scored where he clearly has been digesting clips of Cale Makar in order to cut to the middle and fire a shot. That was one of three goals he scored along with 26 assists for 29 points thus far this season, which is good for fifth among freshman defensemen.
As the Avalanche prospect pool has thinned considerably, especially with NHL-ready talent on the backend there may be the temptation to sign Behrens early especially with General Manager Joe Sakic present in the building to watch Behrens’ regional tournament games in Loveland two weeks ago. Still, there should be no need to move that quickly with Behrens as he can really start to take the program over as he increases in seniority and experience. He also has a shot a two World Junior Championships ahead of him. One the recently announced WJC 2022 redo in August and also the 2023 tournament Behrens is still eligible for this coming holiday season.
The Pioneers begin the Frozen Four with a match against the very formidable Michigan Wolverines at 3 p.m. on April 7. The Game can be seen locally and in the US on ESPN2. If Denver wins they move on to the NCAA Championship game at 6 p.m. MT on April 9 again televised on ESPN2.