It didn’t come easy for Colorado Avalanche prospect defenseman Sean Behrens as he waited an entire year for his chance to contribute and earn a medal at the World Junior Championship. He had to sit out the aborted first run of the 2022 tournament due to a positive COVID-19 test. In the restart over the summer Behrens was able to join the team but light usage as the seventh defenseman and then subsequently an injury in his first game pretty much ended the tournament for him before it got started as the Americans made an early exit with a loss in the quarterfinals as well.
Sean Behrens from downtown! pic.twitter.com/8oG8wApO1h— Spittin' Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) December 26, 2022
But this tournament was different as Behrens in his final year of eligibility at 19 years of age and due to the experience, he gained over the summer took on a big role for Team USA and was also named one of the alternate captains. In seven games, Behrens scored a goal and chipped in two assists, and while it wasn’t a ton of offensive contribution he played an average of 19:58 per game, which was second to only Luke Hughes on the American squad. The team put forth a much better effort and eventually defeated Sweden in a wild 8-7 overtime win to earn a bronze medal.
As expected, Sean Behrens (COL) was one of the best-performing defencemen in the tournament. Arguably the best defensive defenceman while contributing a ton offensively and clearly holding his own in transition. The Avs have a good one here. #GoAvsGo https://t.co/RX8ENuOvYN pic.twitter.com/KuPOdUoHI6— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) January 6, 2023
Digging deeper into the analytics shows the strong game Behrens brought with him despite not hitting the scoresheet often. The story has been similar in his sophomore season with Denver as production has eluded him at times with eight points in 16 contests but he’s working on improving his defensive game and strength on the puck. Time will tell if he’s ready to turn pro and sign with the Avalanche this spring or if one more year in the NCAA is best for his development and career.