Utica Comets of the American Hockey League — the top farm club of the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League — have confirmed that they have signed goalie Bailey Brkin to a tryout contract. The 22-year old Brkin is a former standout with the Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League.
As was earlier this week reported by Hockey News North, Brkin — who took university classes and did not play any hockey during the 2020-2021 season due to the COVID-19 shutdown — began the current 2021-2022 campaign with the Quad City Storm of the Southern Professional Hockey League.
The 6-foot-3, 175 pound goalie posted sparkling numbers — an 8-1-1 record with a 1.97 goals against average and .937 save percentage with Quad City before being loaned to the Fort Wayne Komets of the higher level East Coast Hockey League.
Brkin stopped 24 of 26 shots for Fort Wayne in his ECHL debut and was quickly summoned by Utica to the AHL.
Nicknamed the “Croatian Sensation” when he played for the Greyhounds in 2019-2020 — his dad, Zlatko Brkin, was born in Croatia — the slender goaltender was a standout in his one and only OHL season. By far the best goalie of any of the four who tended twine for the Greyhounds in ’19-20, Brkin had a 17-8-3 record with a 3.37 goals against average and .895 save percentage in a Soo uniform.
Hailing from Sherwood Park, Alberta, Brkin has taken a long and winding road during his high level hockey career, playing for four teams in the WHL — his best season was with the Spokane Chiefs — before ending up in the OHL and the Soo and now starting out his pro career and continuing to move up the ladder.