2. Logan Brown (Last Year: 6, Reader Rank: 3)
At the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Ottawa Senators traded up two spots to pick a 6’6” centre named Logan Brown. Two years, multiple injuries and a decent number of points in the OHL later, Brown will be a full time pro for the upcoming season.
In his draft year, Brown’s appeal was evident. His large frame, soft hands and hockey IQ made him a coveted prospect. His 74 points in 59 games was enough to ensure he didn’t wait long to find out where he would begin his NHL career.
Fast forward two years, Brown has had his ups and downs. If there’s been one knock on the Raleigh native, it’s his consistency - with respect to both health and effort. Here’s what The Athletic’s Corey Pronman had to say about Brown in his most recent farm report.
“Brown is a frustrating prospect because of his immense potential. He’s been up and down the last few years, but when he’s up he can look lights out. He’s a 6-foot-6 center with high-end skill. He looks to make plays and can be a driver on a line. He’s not super slow and skates decent for his massive frame. Brown does need to improve his pace though. He can struggle when the games get fast and particularly physical. He won’t give you 100 percent at times but can still win battles just due to how easily he boxes guys out. Staying healthy, improving his conditioning and working on being more consistent will be keys for him going forward.”
As Pronman mentions, Brown’s health has been a big question mark in his young career. In spending three seasons in the OHL, Brown played in a little over half the regular season games he was eligible to play for. That being said, his performance since his draft+1 year has greatly improved, as illustrated by Ziggy’s OHL Production Snapshots.
This past season, Brown was traded from a floundering Windsor Spitfires team to the Kitchener Rangers. Upon acquiring Brown, Rangers GM Mike McKenzie said the following:
“When he is on his game he can be dominant and gives us some size and skill up the middle of the ice that will help us down the stretch and into the playoffs.”
He proceeded to lead the Rangers in playoff scoring on an admirable trip to game seven of the conference finals so I think McKenzie and the Rangers were happy spending the player and four draft picks it cost to acquire the Sens first rounder.
On top of a solid OHL season, Brown was selected to represent Team USA at the World Juniors in Buffalo. Unfortunately his tournament was cut short by, you guessed it, an injury.
Other than “can he stay healthy?” the big question surrounding Brown for the upcoming season is where he will end up. Before returning to the OHL, Brown got a taste of the big leagues spending a few weeks with the Senators - appearing in four games and contributing an assist in the process. Many believe Brown will get every opportunity to spend as much time as he can earn in the NHL this year. After all, Ottawa isn’t exactly overflowing with skilled centres at the moment. If he doesn’t, there’s a team down the 401 who could desperately (!) use his skill.
As rookie camp opens up this weekend, here’s a refresher of some of the skill you can expect to see from this year’s runner-up top player under 25, courtesy of the one and only @SensProspects.