Ever since the 2012 NHL entry draft I have been excited about Connor Brown. Drafted in the 6th round 156 overall, Brown is turning into a sleeper pick teams passed over. The reason I was excited was Brown had a decent season at just over a point per game the year he was drafted. So getting a player that deep in the draft to me was a steal, a good player to keep an eye on as he progresses through the OHL, AHL and finally the NHL. His next season with Erie was a coming out party for him, playing with Connor Mcdavid for a majority of the season. Brown tallied 128 points in 68 games winning him 6 awards that season including CHL’s top scorer. What a steal for a 6th round pick, proving he has some top end offensive talent when playing with good players.
His move to the AHL showed that he can play at the next level with 61 points in 78 games, giving him most points by a rookie that season. Again what a late round steal by the Maple Leafs scouting staff. In every pro season he has been close to a point per game, even in a small call up by the Maple Leafs where he had 6 points in 7 games. That shows off his offensive side of the game, but his defensive side has been just as good. Brown had been primarily a plus player for his clubs, its hard to tell exactly due to his roles on certain teams but it seems like when he is given the time he flourishes.
Then the 2016-2017 season started, Brown started on some lower lines on the Leafs roster where he showcased his amazing drive train and work ethic. His ability to dig down low and cycle the puck with his line mates made him one of Mike Babcocks go to players not only 5 on 5 but on the penalty kill as well. Just before Brown got his chance on the Matthews line is when that specific line with Hyman, Matthews and Nylander were struggling a bit. I kept saying to co workers that Matthews needs a line where they can keep possession and cycle the puck, I was in favor of putting Brown on that line and removing Hyman. Boy was I wrong, putting Hyman and Brown together on a line with Matthews has been great! Both Hyman and Brown are gritty, drive the net, win puck battles, are great defensively and cycle the puck. Everything that line needed, and in turn they have one of the highest possession ratings on the whole team and are on fire every night.
Brown has earned the coaches trust to be out in all situations, including 3 on 3 where he is always out with Matthews. Not a speedy elite winger like Nylander or Marner… Brown is out there and he deserves it.
Lets get into some stats and see exactly how he is doing this season in 36 GP.
|7 / 16||Turnovers/ Take aways|
16 points in 36 GP is not “that bad” but can be attributed to playing lower in the lineup. Since moving to the Matthews line Brown has had multiple multi point games. His defensive game is awesome, only turning the puck over 7 times 5 on 5 while taking back the puck 16 times. Not to mention his over 80 minutes played on the PK which is almost tops on the team.
Brown has proved throughout his career he can produce offensively and now he has become one of the best 2 way forwards the Leafs have. I cant say it enough that he is a great pick by the Leafs so deep into the draft and he has flourished into a great 2 way winger. I am excited to see what the future has in store for him as he and that line continue to grow. If Brown or Hyman somehow become a slight bit better offensively in terms of finishing, my goodness that line will be almost unstoppable.
Let me know what you think of Connor Brown! Comment below or on Facebook, or tweet me @TMLHockeytlk