10K Rinks is counting down the top 10 prospects for the Minnesota Wild, as voted by our staff. Today we’re giving you everything you need to know about our number 4 prospect, Brock Faber.
The Minnesota Wild was to trade Kevin Fiala this summer for cap purposes and had few options. However, the acquisition of Brock Faber and a first-round pick — whom Minnesota used to sign No. 7 prospect Liam Öhgren this summer — for the Los Angeles Kings now looks like a success.
Of course, the initial news didn’t quite capture the hype surrounding Fiala. After all, it’s not every day that teams trade an 85-point scorer. Plus, the Kings have plenty of young forwards they could have sent to the Wild: Arthur Kaliyev, Rasmus Kupari, or even high-end options like Quinton Byfield and Alex Turcotte. To be honest, the Wild didn’t have much influence. Still, there’s no doubt the Wild got two prospects back who should soon be valuable plays.
A few years ago, the Wild lacked defensive talent in their scouting system. But they completely changed that in the latest drafts, suddenly coming into their own. Faber, 10K Rinks’ No. 4 prospect, joins a strong defensive crop of Calen Addison (No. 5), Carson Lambos (No. 8), Jack Peart, Ryan O’Rourke and Daemon Hunt, among others in the pipeline.
Faber is not a flashy offensive defender, but he is a shrewd skater with solid defensive ability. The 20-year-old showcased those things at the University of Minnesota, playing as one of the Big 10’s top defensemen.
It’s not hard to see that Faber is a smart defender. He highlighted his ability to find space and shake things up with his help in the NCAA Frozen Four Tournament.
“Faber is a great skater who plays hard and projects to be a quality defenseman in the NHL despite his small size,” Corey Pronman wrote in his recent article on the best players under 23 of 2022 at The Athletic. “The offense in his game doesn’t stand out, but he moves the puck quite well on his first passes.
Meanwhile, the likelihood of him becoming a star or even an NHL player is shockingly low, according to Hockey Prospecting. Among his best comparables, Best Screenplay is Justin Schultz. But there’s one major caveat: it’s all about offensive production. It’s not Faber’s game, so it makes sense that he’s rated so poorly, given his low point total.
This is why the projections matter less in the case of Faber. Although more offensive production would be ideal, it could come later as he continues to develop. Like Jonas Brodin, Faber’s strengths are defense and dominance in transition.
There are high expectations this season for Faber, who is entering his freshman year at the University of Minnesota. He’s coming off a strong sophomore season, finishing with a career-high 14 points and +8 rating in 32 games. He was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year last season and then had a strong showing at the Olympics.
There’s a reason why 10KRinks has it in 4th place. Even better, Faber has further increased his stock after a strong performance at the World Junior Championships in August.
USA outscored opponents 10-0 5-5 in the tournament with Faber on the ice, and there was a lot to like about Faber’s performance on a major stage.
“Did his thing. Quick and balanced footwork. Active stick. Perfect timing in the neutral zone. Heady escapes. Clever at the top of the zone offensively,” Scott Wheeler of Athleticism wrote in his World Juniors notebook.
There is no doubt that this season will be a major point in Faber’s development. He is not an offensive defenseman who produces points. Still, he demonstrated an ability to be effective in the offensive zone by making things happen with his skating and a simple but effective game. That, combined with his defensive skill and ability to transition, are reason to believe he can become a strong Top 4 defender.
While the Wild is brimming with defensive prospects, there’s no denying they’ve added another solid talent in Faber to their pipeline in the Fiala trade. Faber is not far from making his NHL debut, and he has the potential to be a mainstay on Minnesota’s blue line soon.
The interesting wrinkle on the trade? The Wild have two quality projected top-4 defensemen in Faber and Addison on the right flank. Assuming Matt Dumba doesn’t re-sign with the Wild next summer, they might have to fight for that spot behind Jared Spurgeon in the Top-4. Faber and Addison also have two different skills. Addison is projected as a power-play quarterback, while Faber is expected to be a stop defenseman.
It seems very appropriate. Faber and Addison neck and neck on our roster and neck and neck on the depth chart for the foreseeable future. Only time will tell who will take on this role.
All data via Elite Prospects.