Logan Brown Will Soon Be the Complete Package
Everything seemed to come together this year for Senators first round pick Logan Brown, as he skyrocketed up the draft rankings late in the season, only to be nabbed by his dream team at the draft.
"Even though my son didn't show it, he was (nervous). I sure was," said Jeff Brown, father of Senators first round draft pick Logan Brown. "He really doesn't show emotion much, but when the picks started to go by, you could tell he was getting a little bit rattled."
While Logan became distraught as he fell slightly from his projected position, the Ottawa Senators saw an opportunity.
Pierre Dorion and company obviously had Logan higher on their wish-list than a handful of other teams. In their mind, he was the last player before a significant drop in the first round. So they did what they could to steal him.
Ottawa found a trading partner in the New Jersey Devils and happily swapped their 3rd round pick for a chance to move up one spot and nab a great player.
The Senators got their guy, and Logan got his dream team. Well, one of them.
The 18-year-old claimed that growing up, he'd "always dreamed of being a Senator," and it's true. Though he was a Blues fan first - understandably so, seeing as his father played over 300 games in St. Louis - the Senators were a close second for Logan.
"He did spend a lot of Christmases in Ottawa and we'd always try to catch a game," explained Brown, who carted just under 600 points during his NHL career.
Brown has had a huge positive influence on Logan's young career - as it certainly helps to learn from someone who has played 747 games in the NHL - but for around 120 minutes every season, he must try and stop his son from succeeding.
Brown is the head coach of the Ottawa 67's, and at least two times a year, he faces off against his son's Windsor Spitfires. For the 50-year-old, it's not the most comfortable position.
"We always joke about putting our No. 5 and 6 defensemen out there when he's on, but no, it's the hardest two games I coach all year long," Brown admits. "(Logan) thinks it's funny. He laughs at it because I'm always so stressed during (the games).
"Hopefully soon I'll never have to coach against him again."
Brown will likely not get what he's wished for right away, as it's probable that Logan will be back in the OHL come October, but there is a small chance that he'll be ready to step in with the big club. Once purposefully kept away from the gym earlier in his career by his father, Logan has made large strides with his strength and conditioning this past year.
"If you saw him from the start of our year in the first two months to the end of our year in the last two months," said Spitfires head coach Rocky Thompson. "You'd see why he jumped up in the ratings."
And boy, did he ever jump.
At the mid-season rankings, both Sportsnet and TSN had the Raleigh, North Carolina native at No. 20. By June, he was spotted at No. 8 on Sportsnet and at No. 10 on TSN.
"Those questions about his conditioning were being answered," explained Thompson. "His strength and his skating were really starting to shine (their) way through. From what I understand - and I haven't been around him lately - Logan has really committed himself in the gym this offseason, so we're very excited to see where it all goes."
While his speed and first few steps may need a bit of work, the 6'6" centre has one of the best offensive arsenals in all of junior hockey. But above all other weapons stand his playmaking ability and hockey IQ.
"He makes people around him better," said Brown. "He's always been a facilitator and he's always played with his head up. He's a pass-first kind of guy, even though he's got a great shot."
Though if there was one knock on his play in the attacking zone, it would be that he doesn't use that great shot enough.
"It's kind of my fault," Brown jokingly admits. "Because his whole life I've been teaching him to be unselfish and try and make others around him better."
Thompson has a more in-depth explanation as to why Logan can't seem to pull the trigger sometimes.
"If you look at the environment Logan came up in and the team he played on, six of his teammates were drafted this year and three went in the first round," he said. "They weren't just a good team; they were a super team. So what happened was they had the puck all the time, and in my opinion, Logan was developing some habits.
"There were some very good habits - like his puck distribution; he was very unselfish - but he also had bad habits. When you have the puck all the time, you don't always think to shoot, you think to better your position because you can afford to when you know you're going to get the puck back very soon and do it again."
Logan may be an elite prospect now, but as Brown explains, it took a while for him to break through to that next level.
"He was always one of the best players," said Brown. "But because of his size he was never overly dynamic, if that makes sense. Take (Clayton) Keller for example. They're best friends, grew up together, played on the same team. Clayton was always way more dynamic and Logan was never that guy.
"Logan was always just that good 200-foot player; could score, could check, could play defense. He just kept trudging along as a very good 200-foot player and now he's elevated that to a whole other dimension."
And take it from someone who's made it there before; though Logan certainly has all the tools to become an everyday NHLer, it's far from a gimme right now.
"This is incredible that my boy and especially the other guys from St. Louis have achieved this," exclaimed Brown. "And now the real work starts. All of this is great, but if you really want to make it, it's a whole other level of hard work."