10K Rinks is counting down the top 10 Minnesota Wild prospects as voted by our staff. Today we give you everything you need to know about our No. 4 Brock Faber.
The Minnesota Wild needed to trade Kevin Fiala for capital purposes this summer and had few options. However, getting Brock Faber and a first-round pick — which Minnesota used this summer to draft No. 7 prospect Liam Ohgren — in return from the Los Angeles Kings seems like a success right now.
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. The Kings also have plenty of young forwards who could go wild: Artur Kaliev, Rasmus Kupari, or top-tier options like Quinton Byfield and Alex Turcotte. Frankly, Wild didn’t have much use. Still, there’s no doubt the Wild will get two valuable pieces soon in return.
A few years ago, the Wild didn’t have a defensive ability in their running system. But they completely changed that in the last few drafts and suddenly made it their strength. Faber, 10K Rinks’ No. 4 prospect, he joins a strong defensive crop in Callen Addison (No. 5), Carson Lambos (No. 8), Jack Peart, Ryan O’Rourke and Damon Hunt.
Faber isn’t a flashy offensive defenseman, but he’s a solid defensive slider. The 20-year-old showed those things at the University of Minnesota, where he emerged as one of the top defensive backs in the Big 10.
It’s not hard to see that Faber is a savvy defender. He highlighted his ability to find space and make plays with his help in the NCAA Frozen Four tournament.
“Faber plays hard and has the potential to be a quality defenseman in the NHL despite his lack of size,” Corey Pronman wrote in his recent 2022 Players Under 23 at The Athletic. “His offense doesn’t stand out in the playoffs, but he moves the puck a lot on first downs.”
Meanwhile, the chances of him becoming a star or an NHLer are alarmingly low, Hockey Prospects said. Among the main comparisons, the best case scenario is Justin Schultz. But there is one big caveat: it depends entirely on offensive production. That’s not Faber’s game, so given his low scores, it makes sense why he’s rated poorly.
That is why predictions are not so important in Faber’s case. Although a more offensive product is ideal, it can come later as he grows. Like Jonas Brodin, Faber’s strengths are defending and dominating in transition.
Expectations are high this season for Faber, who is entering his junior year at the University of Minnesota. He finished his sophomore season with a career high 14 points and a +8 rating in 32 games. He was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year last season, then had a strong performance in the Olympics.
10KRinks is the reason for number 4. Even better, Faber raised his stock after a strong performance at the World Juniors in August.
The United States outscored opponents 10-0 at 5-on-5 in Faber’s on-ice competition, and there was plenty to like about Faber’s performance on the main stage.
“Does his thing. Quick, balanced footwork. Active stick. Perfect timing in the neutral zone. Heads out. Smart in the zone offensively,” the Athletic’s Scott Wheeler wrote in his World Juniors diary.
This season was undoubtedly a turning point in Faber’s development. It’s not an offensive defenseman who produces the points. Still, he has shown the ability to be effective in the offensive zone with his skating and simple yet effective play. That, combined with his defensive prowess and ability in transition, are reasons to believe he can develop into a solid Top-4 defenseman.
While the Wild are loaded with defensive prospects, they admittedly added another solid talent in Faber in the Phila trade. Faber isn’t far from making his NHL debut, and has the potential to be a major player on Minnesota’s blue line soon.
A fun wrinkle about the business? The Wild have two quality projected Top-4 defensemen on the right side in Faber and Addison. Assuming Matt Dumba doesn’t re-sign with the Bruins next summer, they may have to fight for that spot behind Jared Spurgeon in the Top-4. Faber and Addison also have two different skill sets. Addison is projected as a power-play quarterback, while Faber is projected as a shutdown defender.
It seems very appropriate. Faber and Addison are neck-and-neck on our list and neck-and-neck on the depth chart for the future. Only time will tell who fills that role.
All data via Elite Prospects.