Deep in the cavernous underbelly of the First Niagara Center, muffled screaming could be heard emitting from a dark custodial closet. Behind the locked door is a desperate French-Canadian pleading at the top of his lungs between violent episodes of door handle shaking.
“You’ll regret ‘dis, Joe! Gauthier! Arrggghhh!! Gauthierrrrrrrrr!!!”
Upstairs on the arena floor, General Manager Joe Sakic is presiding over his team’s draft operation. He wipes his brow and lets out a deep sigh. After days of heated meetings, he had to lock his Head Coach and fellow Vice President, Patrick Roy, in basement room to keep him from drafting the 6’4” 212 pound power forward from the QMJHL. Sure, the 41 goals and imposing front-of-net presence was nice, but most evaluations had him going well after the tenth pick, and the Avalanche scouting team really liked the skill of another half a dozen players.
After watching the first nine picks go off the board, he had a difficult decision to make. Would he select a defenseman? Clearly a position of need at the NHL level, but already the strongest prospect position in Colorado’s system. Nah, it would need to be a forward — one with a high enough ceiling to be a Top-6 forward, but defensively sound and positionally versatile. The player would also need to fit the organization’s physical profile — tall, long arms, great skater. Joe looks down at his board one last time, gets a confident nod from his scouting team, and finally begins to fill out his draft card:
Logan Brown — 6’6” 220 lb Center — OHL Windsor Spitfires
- The 18-year old Canadian-U.S. dual citizen is the son of former NHL defenseman, Jeff Brown, who played 16 seasons in the league — including five for the Quebec Nordiques as a teammate of Sakic. The elder Brown was a prolific scorer on the blue line, notching 585 points during his tenure with six different organizations, and his scoring touch seems to have been passed to Logan, who recorded 74 points in 59 games for the 40-21-6 Windsor Spitfires.
- Brown played for Team USA this past winter during the IIHF U18 World Championships, helping his team to a bronze medal finish with three goals and nine assists in seven games.
- After being ranked 14th among North American skaters in the NHL’s midseason rankings, Brown vaulted all the way up to 7th, making him one of the fastest risers leading up to the draft.
Below we hear from MHH’s head scouting director, Earl06. Also, special thanks to the invaluable Sandie Gauthier and tigervixxxen for their input. This was a fantastic team effort!
Yes, Brown's size is notable — especially in the OHL — but the more you watch him play the less you focus on it. The type of plays he can make and the skill he displays are more akin to a “normal-sized” center rather than someone like, say, Patrick Bordeleau. Brown’s stature becomes more like a bonus for reach in the defensive zone and puck protection in the o-zone rather than the foundation of his game.
Even though he’s got an impressive shot that can work from anywhere, he’s consistently put up around twice as many assists as goals. He's not really a power forward — at least not exclusively. The vision and playmaking ability make him more of a skilled distributor offensively that can win puck battles and have good net-front presence. Very well-rounded game overall, the Avs taking him at #10 shouldn’t be construed as just “taking the big guy”. With the way his stock has been rising over the past few weeks, we are lucky to welcome him to the org. The type of game he plays is something we don’t really have with someone at the NHL level or in the pipeline and will be an excellent complement to the Avs other centers down the road.