NHL Prospects

Skill, not size, puts Logan Brown in the top 10 draft prospects

A potential first-rounder in this year’s draft was born in a “non-traditional market” — and no, it’s not Auston Matthews. Logan Brown, left-shooting center for the Windsor Spitfires, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1998 when his father Jeff played for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Of course, as is natural for guys whose fathers played and worked in hockey, Brown grew up all over. As a dual citizen, he had his choice of playing for either the United States or Canada. While he represented Canada in a non-IIHF sanctioned event, this spring he chose to play for the US at the U18 World Championships, cementing him as American in the eyes of the IIHF.

At 6’6” and 218 pounds, Brown is already larger than most of his opponents in the OHL, but where guys his size are typically used as a physical presence on the ice, Brown is a skilled, offensive player. He had 74 points (21 goals, 53 assists) this regular season, as well as 6 assists in 5 playoff games.

Central Scouting has him ranked 7th among North American skaters in their final rankings, and ISS Hockey has him at 7th in their May rankings. Brown had a big second half of the season — likely what caused him to rise from 14th in Central Scouting’s midterm rankings to 7th at the final — but it’s not just “recency bias” pushing him up the list.

He’s a creative and mature player with good vision, able to anticipate the moves players defending him will make, and figure out how he can exploit those mistakes. He’s a skater with good speed, especially for a player of his size, with quick acceleration and a powerful stride that helps him get through traffic to the front of the net.

His shot has been called deadly because of it’s accuracy, but he could stand to use it more often, as it’s good from both far out and in close. A two-way center, Brown prefers to be the playmaker, which works for him — he plays a smart game, and his hockey sense allows him to create opportunities. He could stand to work on his consistency, but if he continues to improve, he has top-line upside.

He doesn’t play a physical game in the traditional sense of the term. He’s not the guy throwing huge checks on opponents all over the ice. That said, he’s not afraid to use his body. He gets involved in physical battles along the boards, unafraid of contact, and uses his body to protect the puck.

One thing to remember about Brown’s size is that he’s only 18, so he’s still growing. He’s got time to fill out and get stronger, and as long as he continues to work on his skating, it could be a huge asset.

Brown has a terrific work ethic, continuing to try and improve his skating and skill. He’s not just a big body out on the ice. He’s a skilled point producer, and one who could provide more offense than he does currently if he would shoot the puck more often.

His offensive ability is perhaps the most important thing for his NHL team to continue to develop. Too often, you see bigger players like Brown forced into that “physical presence” role when they first break into the NHL due to concerns about how many minutes they can play or how much responsibility they can handle, but being a checking presence isn’t Brown’s game.

It would be a shame to see his skill and creativity buried just because his organization wants him to debut in the NHL this fall. Being careful with a prospect’s development is never a bad decision, and Brown is no exception to this.

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