“I think for him it’s a little different than maybe for some other players,” Burke said. “He grew up playing all his hockey in Arizona. So he was out of any media hockey hotbed.
“The other thing with Brendan is he’s one of those kids that have been around the game forever and really has a respect and appreciation for the players and how hard it is. For him it’s more ‘this is what I want to do and I know how hard it is’ rather than pressure. He understands the work that needs to go into it. I think he knows it isn’t just 'my dad played, I like it and I’m going to play.' There is a long way to go before he ever gets a chance.”
Brendan was 24-5-1 with a 2.65 goals-against average and .908 save percentage for the Portland Winterhawks (WHL) last season. He is not only similar in build to his father, but also in style.
“Yes, good and bad,” the elder Burke said with a laugh. “He’s very similar in style. A lot of it is from him just watching. He was old enough when I was still playing to watch a lot of games. He naturally plays a style I think he watched me play.
“Kids his age now are better-coached from a younger age. They’re more technical. I remember back in my day it was more about just being a good athlete and competing. Young goalies now do that, but they’ve also been well-coached.”
Burke was Mac Carruth’s back-up and he only appeared in one playoff game but he went 24-5-1 with a .908 save percentage in the regular season and he’s expected to step in as the team’s No. 1 goalie.
“He’s really, really improved in the years he’s been with the organization,’’ said Johnston. “I just believe his upside is big. He’s really calm, really poised, and he’s starting to fill out. … he’s got the skills.’’
Burke says he knows the draft is “hit and miss’’ with goalies and he would be happy to get picked somewhere in the middle rounds. “Really, anywhere (is fine)’’ he said. “I’m not going to be disappointed.’’
Burke’s father, former NHL goalie Sean Burke, is goaltenders coach for the Phoenix Coyotes. “The Coyotes were always my favorite team growing up,’’ said Burke. “It would be cool to be playing for my favorite team but that’s not super important. Just getting there (to the NHL)is.’’
This pick works for me. The 7th round is where you should be drafting goalies, and it's where you should be drafting the progeny of your front office. A longshot, as any late round pick would be, but he's got pro potential for sure.
And if things stay the course he should be Portland's starter a few seasons later
He'll be the #1 this year. Portland is the top organization in the WHL (or a very close #2 depending on who you talk too). We should know very quickly what we've got here. Could be a gem. This was his father's pick all the way though. I would anticipate that there may be some "extra coaching" along the way.