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Photo Credit: Geoff Burke / USA TODAY Sports

2017-18 Leafs Season in Review: Connor Brown

It’s time for us to discuss the greatest Connor to ever come out of the Erie Otters organization: Yes, that’s right. Let’s talk about Downtown Connor Brown.

Brown can best be characterized as steady and dependable with a flash of offensive upside — we saw that last year in his first full year in the NHL. He lived up to that this season, and I gotta say: I appreciate a man who meets my expectations.

STATS

GP GOALS ASSISTS POINTS CORSI % (5V5) XGF% (5V5)
82 14 14 28 49.58 50.17

Obviously, Brown fell off a little offensively from last year’s numbers, where he posted 20 goals and 16 assists, but he was still a serviceable NHLer in his sophomore season. In fact, it’s actually sort of incredible how… Solid? Predictable? Average but not in a bad way? Anyway, Connor Brown had a nice year. Not like, super good. Not bad. Just nice.

Brown spent most of his time mired in the bottom six, with a handful of appearances on the top line. Brown is a good second or third line player, I’d say, and as it happens, his production was… the epitome of what we’d expect from a third liner.

As Ziggy’s snapshot illustrates, Connor Brown’s numbers across the board show that his production was befitting a third line winger, which is what he is, so. I’m happy with it.

Also, this isn’t reflected in the basic stats above, but Brown is a dream of a penalty killer. He’s really smart, good with his stick, and whenever he and Kasperi Kapanen are on the ice during a kill concurrently, I shed a tear.

GRADE: B

This is the point where, if I’m a teacher, I tell the student that I’m proud of what they’ve done, but I know that they can do even better next time. Connor Brown had a perfectly acceptable season, but he’s got more than “acceptable” in him. He met expectations this year, but it’d be nice for him to exceed them, especially since we know he’s capable of a 20-goal season.

FUN FACT

If Connor Brown begins the 2018-19 season wearing #28, it will be the first time in his career that he starts a season with the same number that he wore in the season prior. That was weird English, but my point is: Brown has already worn three numbers with the Leafs. He wore #16 in his first short go-around, then switched to #12 for his first full year. Then the Leafs signed Patrick Marleau and Brown went, yeah, okay, vet’s rights. So he ended up wearing #28 this year. It’s a nice number, so hopefully it sticks.

SEASON HIGHLIGHT

As you probably remember, the Leafs were on the brink of elimination after four games against the Bruins. They lived to see another day with a 4-3 Game 5 win, in part because of Connor Brown’s goal to open the game. It’s a nice one too — he shows off some hand-eye coordination, batting the puck out of midair.

2018-19 OUTLOOK

This past year was the first of three years on Brown’s current contract. That means — do the math with me, people — we’ve got two more. I guess there are some people who are in the “trade Connor Brown!” camp but I am not one of them.

Connor Brown is good. Yeah, he’s no Auston (who is?) but he’s dependable and he’s versatile. He can play up in the lineup, filling in on that top line when needed, but is effective in a shut-down role as well. I love Kadri and Brown together, and I want more of it. Defensively responsible and a threat to score? Yes, please. And of course, he’s a key part of the Leafs penalty kill.

If you trade Connor Brown… You don’t have Connor Brown. And you don’t have his perfectly reasonable contract for two more years, after which he’ll still be an RFA. I’m not saying he should be untouchable, I’m saying it should take a bit to pry Brown away from the Leafs.

So Connor Brown’s 2018-19 outlook? Hopefully, as a Leaf. Scoring 20 goals, getting some power play time with some key departures, killing penalties, etc. Here’s to hoping.

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  • Brandon

    Is it just me, or did Brown kind of disappear later in the season? Yes, he’s dependable, but I was left wondering what happened to his scoring as the year went on. What does his scoring look like if you break the year into quarters? Just a question.

    • Skill2Envy

      I think it was a by-product of being the “Swiss army knife” or “swing man” this season. He played on virtually every line and I can’t think of a player he didn’t play with on his line this season. I couldn’t even tell you who his most common linemates were; or if they last more than 10 games together at a time.

  • Tommy Cat

    Good article Megan. I’m a big fan of Connor Brown. So much desire and work ethic that don’t show up on the charts and graphs. This guy is gold. He’s a guy you win with. Hyman as well. Marner has it in spades. These are guys that will out a championship team.