After trading up one spot with the New Jersey Devils for the 11th overall pick, the Ottawa Senators selected Windsor Spitfires centre and son of former NHLer Jeff Brown, Logan Brown. After fellow centremen Clayton Keller and Tyson Jost had fallen off the board, the Senators seemed to have their sights set on Brown. The Devils did not seem so eager to pick anyone in particular at 11, so they were willing to swap spots with Ottawa so they could get the 80th overall pick as well.
Brown had been ranked higher than 11th on a lot of recent lists, so the Senators probably weren't expecting to get him this draft, and must have been surprised that he was there for the taking. The first thing that people notice about Brown is his size. The 6'6" centre is known as one of the biggest draft eligible players, although he isn't going to be a bottom six bruiser type.
Ary and I profiled Brown a few weeks ago at Silver Seven, where I quoted a scout who said that
"In terms of tools, his tools are as good as anyone's in the draft. He's got size, but he might be the weakest guy in all of the draft."
It's interesting that the Senators continued their theme of drafting big players, although Brown probably isn't a prototypical big centreman. He is seen as more of a playmaker, as he had 21 goals and 53 assists in 59 games for the Spitfires this season.
Considering his size, he will get every opportunity to succeed, which makes sense. It's hard to project exactly what he will become for Ottawa, but considering he already has a head start with his size and his passing ability, this could be a great pick. Senators fans have long complained about Kyle Turris being too small, and now with Brown potentially in the mix and Mika Zibanejad playing a physical brand of hockey, that should not be an issue.
Much like Colin White from last year, Brown seems to be a defensively responsible player, which Ottawa could certainly use. If their strategy is to get more forwards who can help out in the defensive zone, then I'm totally fine with that. Here's what scout Tyler Parchem had to say on Brown:
"Brown is a huge centre who excels at both ends of the ice. He can be dominant in the offensive zone but takes care of his own end as well. His large frame is key to his success as he uses his body to shield his puck and his reach to keep it off other players sticks. He is not overly physical for a player his size, but will finish every check and battle down low very effectively. He has a good shot with a pro like release as well as good creativity and maturity when passing the puck."
It's obviously too early to know if his offensive game will translate to the NHL, but he most likely has an identifiable floor that not every draft eligible player has. He has size and can hold his own in the defensive zone, so Ottawa should have a 3rd line centre at minimum. However, that also means that he may not have the same kind of ceiling as someone like Clayton Keller has.
Normally really big centres getting drafted have one big flaw: their skating. Fortunately, scouts have seen no issue with his skating or his speed, which is good to see.
One quote I found interesting was from College Hockey writer at SB Nation, Chris Dilks, who compares him to Joe Thornton and says that:
"Brown has definite first line star potential if he keeps building on the upward development curve he has shown late this year"
From what I've read I didn't think he had that high potential, but we can at least dream, can't we? Dilks also says that one weakness he has is that he doesn't shoot enough, so I think billing Brown as a two-way playmaker is a good label for him so far.
It'll be fascinating to watch him over the next few seasons, because if he gets even better then Ottawa could have a special player on their hands. There's also the possibility that he plays his way onto the team this year or next due to his NHL-ready frame. I think I like the pick more than I initially thought, although Keller or Tyson Jost would have been excellent. Still though, Brown has some potential and you can never have too many good centres. Plus, I didn't like the White pick one year ago, so it doesn't take much to change people's minds.
Oh, and also: Brown is a good local boy. We love those, don't we?