Weight: 218 pounds
Date of birth: March 5, 1998, Chesterfield, MO
OHL Draft: Round 1, 6th overall, 2014 Priority Selection
Brown played his Midget hockey for the Indiana Jr Ice. During the 2013-2014 season he scored 19 goals and added 12 assists in 19 games. Last season was his rookie season in the Ontario Hockey League and he didn’t disappoint. He played in 56 games for the Spitfires and scored 17 goals while assisting on 26 others. His 43 points were good enough for 5th in rookie scoring but his points per game were second only to Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters.
While I’m not one to make comparisons, there are those that find similarities to Joe Thornton and Ryan Getzlaf.
The size. Oh that size. At 6’6” and 218 pounds, that alone has to focus your attention on Brown. The NHL is transitioning to smaller, faster skilled players, but scouts will find it difficult to ignore a player with Brown’s massive size, vision, playmaking abilities and soft hands.
Brown’s skating is very good. He is deceptively quick and agile for a player of his size, especially with the puck on his stick. He is extremely strong on his skates and virtually impossible to knock him off of the puck. Combine his skating and his strength, he can hold onto the puck for what seems like an eternity, allowing teammates to get open and into position.
Brown’s vision and playmaking abilities can now take over. After buying his mates time, he sees the ice so well he knows where everyone is. He can find the seams with relative ease, but he can also make a pass through legs and sticks that few could see.
Brown is not just a playmaker. He possesses a powerful shot with deadly accuracy and velocity. With his size and strength he could be a fixture in front of the opposition net that few defenders could handle. His defensive awareness is also very good.
Rating players on potential and how they eventually pan out requires a crystal ball, and last time I checked, none of the 30 NHL teams have purchased one. That said, most players have their warts and Brown isn’t immune to that.
There are those that point to Brown’s exclusion from Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial as a warning. Not so in my opinion. You cannot put that much stock into a tournament held in August, whether a player makes the squad or not.
I won’t argue with those that believe he needs to play with more consistency or that sometimes he looks “lazy” out there. There are times that he won’t pursue the puck when dumped and use his big body and consider that a knock on him. Personally, I think that he reads the game so well, and sees the plays developing before they actually do, that he knows when it’s safe to attack and when the best option is to think defence first.
Of course, not everyone can be right. The book on Brown is still wide open.