No. 6: Logan Brown (Reader rank: 7, last year: N/A)
Windsor Spitfires centre Logan Brown was only drafted two months ago, but he already ranks 6th amongst Ottawa’s top 25 players under 25 years of age. The fact that he has second or even first line potential is the reason why he ranks so highly this year, and fans can’t help but dream on him as a star considering the size he already has (6’6”, 220 lbs).
Coming into the draft, Brown may not have been the sexy pick because Clayton Keller and Tyson Jost seemed to be the “topic du jour,” but make no mistake: Brown is a legitimate top prospect. In a year’s time, people may be talking about him as a top-20 prospect in the game, much like Colin White has done a year since his draft.
Brown’s 74 points in 59 games is no slouch, and in his last 24 games he recorded 38 points, hopefully meaning that he figured something out down the stretch. Looking at his career numbers, it’s hard to be unimpressed, as in the U18 tournament he was 4th in scoring with 12 points in 7 games.
With the trajectory he is on, it’s easy to imagine Brown putting up a 90+ point season next year in the OHL.
The nice thing about Brown is that he is not a player who is defined by his size despite being massive:
Lot of things to describe Brown, but that isn't it. Made some of the most creative plays I saw from draft-eligibles. https://t.co/ASmCBrRQtp— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) June 25, 2016
He should not be someone that relies on his size to be an NHL player, because a lot of times those players dominate in Junior but struggle when they have to play against men. At the very least, Brown seems to have a recognizable floor.
It’s hard to imagine him not being in the NHL at some point just because he has such a strong playmaking ability, but also because he has the size to win battles and be sound defensively (whether he uses that size is another story).
There is nothing wrong with having someone turn out to be a bottom six centreman, and I think Brown has a very good chance to at least reach that level. However, what if he keeps improving and gets stronger? Then all of a sudden a Joe Thornton-lite comparable may not be that far-fetched.
After the draft I quoted Chris Dilks of SB Nation College Hockey who said that
Furthermore, it’s amazing to think how good he can be if he only truly realized his potential for half of last season:
The knock on Brown has always been his inability to use his size to dominate the middle of the ice consistently, in addition to a wavering intensity level without the puck. He's always been fantastic along the wall, and off the rush, using his size to protect the puck. But the second half of the year, it was like the light finally went on and Brown realized how dominant he could be if he started attacking the net with consistency—Brock Otten, OHL Prospects
Of course, the fact that he was not able to play to his full ability 100% of the time is concerning, but if he can use his size and strength in combination with his already superb playmaking skills, then Ottawa has a real player.
Besides his inconsistent use of his size, another knock on Brown’s game has been the usage of his shot, or lack thereof. However, the odd thing is that various scouts have said that he owns a fantastic shot but it seems like he prefers to pass, reminding me of Jason Spezza. He is not set in his playmaking ways though, and is willing to adapt:
Brown owns a very heavy shot — one of the draft’s best among forwards — which he can fire with accuracy off the pass via a quick release. He was a bit pass-happy the first few months of the season, but his coachability and dedication towards refining his all-around game resulted in a goal-scoring explosion since January—-Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
Brown had only 2.6 shots per game last year, and that’s because he knows his best attribute is his playmaking ability. It would be interesting to see what would happen if he shoots more though, because everyone seems to think that he has the strength to score quite easily.
Gaining the goal-scoring attribute isn’t a necessity to his game, but it would be incredible to see what kind of player he could become if he added another weapon.
The thing with Brown is, there’s so much to like that it’s hard to see everything go wrong with him. Making great passes is his base, and that can take him a long way. He’s still 18 years old and growing into his body, so I guarantee he will become stronger on the puck and harder to play against, so that’s something I’m not worried about at all.
Even if he doesn’t become an overly physical player, there’s nothing wrong with that either. Spezza was never that type of guy and he turned out fine. Plus, more usage of his shot could be the key for him in the future if he wants to become that top-six centre.
Hopefully next year he takes that leap forward in the OHL that everyone is expecting, and if it happens, then watch out.
No matter what, there’s a lot to like about Brown the more I read about him and watch him. In a years time, he could be forcing the Senators hand to make a decision about him making the NHL team. I expect big things for him in the future.