Dane Birks is a 6’3, 190 pound right handed defenseman who just finished his senior year at Michigan Tech.
A go to shutdown defender for the Huskies, Birks skates very well for his size and possesses a reasonable amount of skill with the puck, putting up 5 goals and 13 assists through the 44 games in his senior year. He struggled to put up points in his junior and sophomore seasons, 9 and 3 points respectively, and missed his entire freshman year through academic ineligibility. He did, however, have back to back 20-point campaigns in the USHL prior to attending college, so there’s clearly an ability to move the puck.
Birks very much fits the mold of a Penguins draft pick on D, with his skating ability, preference on quality stickwork over physicality and a solid breakout skillset where he can opt to skate the puck out of the zone if he wishes to, but is more comfortable moving the puck to a forward. Brian Dumoulin plays a very similar style to Birks, but Birks does not possess the upside that Dumoulin did coming out of college.
Birks has signed a 2 year entry level contract that begins in the 18-19 season, with him reporting to WBS for the remainder of the year on an ATO.