Getting to Know: Dane Birks
Size: 6-foot-3, 190 pounds
Birth Date: Sept. 29, 1995
How the Pens Acquired Him: Drafted in 6th round (164th overall) of 2013 NHL Draft
Next Step: At least one more season in the British Columbia Hockey League
Claim to Fame: A strong season as a 17-year-old shot Birks into the NHL Draft discussion. He started the year without being listed on NHL Central Scouting's early players to watch list, but a strong campaign earned him the designation of being ranked the No. 121 North American skater by Central Scouting heading into the draft.
2012-13 Season: During his first full campaign in the BCHL, Birks earned Rookie of the Year Honors from the Merritt Centennials team. He scored five goals and added 15 assists for the Centennials.
Numbers Never Lie: Over his 52 games last season playing for Merritt, Birks flashed some scoring prowess as well as some discipline. He totaled only 28 penalty minutes while grabbing 20 total points, earning him a spot on the BCHL All-Rookie Team.
Pens’ Take: "We like the upside that he has. He’s a little bit of a late bloomer, but he skates well, moves the puck well and is physical in his own way. He is one of those players that needs a little bit more time but obviously going the college route, he’ll get it.“ – Randy Sexton, co-director of amateur scouting
Birks on the biggest strengths of his game: "It would probably be my skating, just natural ability. The way I see the ice is just natural to me. I'm not the biggest guy. So I try to move around and use the ice a lot, see the ice very well, try to make big plays and make people better."