Nation Network Prospect Profile #15: Logan Brown

At 15th in the Nation Network draft rankings we have one of the most interesting prospects of the 2016 class, Logan Brown.

Brown’s upside is obvious: he’s a 6’6 centre who put up 74 points in 59 games in the OHL this season. On paper, he sounds like a certain top-ten pick. But he has been dogged by questions of consistency, effort, and play away from the puck. Some of those issues were addressed over the course of the season, and Brown shot upwards in many draft rankings as a result.

The possibility of drafting a big number one centre outside of the top five won’t be taken lightly by teams. But will GM’s be eager to use valuable early first-round picks on a player with Brown’s question marks? He might have the most uncertainty of any first-rounder in this draft — he could feasibly be drafted anywhere between the number 6 and number 20 slots.

BIO

Age: 18 (March 5th, 1998)

Birthplace: Raleigh, USA

Frame: 6’6, 218 lbs

Position: C

Handedness: L

Draft Year Team: Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

STATS

pGPS n pGPS s pGPS % pGPS PTS/GP pGPS R
5 4 80% 0.58 0.46

Read more about pGPS here

SCOUTS

CSS ISS Future Considerations Hockey Prospectus Pronman McKeen’s Hockey News Button
7 (N.A.) 7 14 19 12 17 15 27

From The Draft Analyst:

Massive playmaking two-way center with a lethal shot who’s been centering Windsor’s top line all season. The son of Ottawa 67’s head coach Jeff Brown — a former all-star defenseman in the NHL — Logan is a physical specimen indeed, using a massive wingspan and strength to win his puck battles and transition quickly to offense. He can be a joy to watch, using above-average speed but a powerful long stride and reach to protect the puck off the rush. He’s an excellent passer, blessed with a sixth sense to anticipate and dissect the defensive scheme presented to him. Brown owns a very heavy shot — one of the draft’s best among forwards — which he can fire with accuracy off the pass via a quick release.

From Tyler Parchem, Elite Prospects

Brown is a huge center that excels at both ends of the ice. He can be dominant in the offensive zone but takes care of his own end as well. His 6’6 frame is key to his success as he uses his body to shield his puck and his reach to keep it off other players sticks. He is not overly physical for a player his size, but will finish every check and battle down low very effectively. He has a good shot with a pro like release as well as good creativity and maturity when passing the puck.

OUR TAKE

We have Brown ranked at number 15, but I would be pretty damn surprised if he’s still available at that slot. His upside is too tantalizing — he has that kind of “how was he not picked earlier?” potential.

That said, the questions around Brown are very real. He came in at 12th in Corey Pronman’s final rankings [subscription], but was as low as 28th in February:

Brown often gets tagged by scouts I’ve talked to for “dogging it” with his off-puck play. He leaves you wanting on many occasions. I had to be persuaded by scouts I’ve talked with to put him even this high.

To his credit, Brown seems to have addressed those issues in the latter half of the season. But the questions remain. Would Brown be in the same conversation as Matthew Tkachuk, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Alex Nylander without those issues? Will an NHL team ignore the issues and use a top-ten pick on him for sheer upside?

Brown is 6’6, but is far from a traditional power forward. He plays centre and is much more of a playmaker than a shooter, but has an absolute weapon of a wrister when he chooses to use it. His passing is uncanny: he very often manages to find a seam to move the puck to a teammate that others wouldn’t even notice. He uses his size sparingly, but to good effect.

Any of that sound familiar? 

Almost every scouting report you read about Brown mentions Joe Thornton as a comparable. And as silly as it is to compare any 18 year old to Jumbo Joe, the stylistic similarities are certainly there. 

But as skilled as Brown is, I’m not sure he belongs in the same conversation as guys like Tkachuk, Dubois, and Nylander just because he put it all together for the second half of this season. Each of those three players put up more points than Brown without raising the same effort/defence/consistency questions.

Brown was a star for Windsor this year and lit up the U-18 World Junior’s for 12 points in 7 games; he is a great, great prospect.

And maybe if you’re the Montreal Canadiens at number 9, a high-reward choice like Brown makes all the sense in the world. I think ranking him #15, as we have done, is a little conservative. But in a draft where most rankings are in pretty close agreement on the top ten, Brown is a wildcard. His statistical outlook is good, albeit with a small sample. He only has five pGPS comparables, 4 of whom went on to legit NHL careers. At the top end of that group are Jason Arnott and Rick Nash; at the other end are Chad Kilger and Taylor Pyatt, who never quite lived up to their perceived potential. 

Like every other prospect, he has the potential to make every team that passes on him regret it, or make the team that picks him regret reaching. Brown just has a little more of that potential than most.


Nation Networks Draft Profiles

Prospect Profile #16: Julien Gauthier Prospect Profiles #17: Dante Fabbro
Prospect Profile #18: Charlie McAvoy (D) Prospect Profiles #19: Luke Kunin (C)
Prospect Profile #20: Alex Debrincat (C/LW) Prospect Profiles #21: Vitali Abramov (RW)
Prospect Profile #22: Max Jones (W/C) Prospect Profiles #23: Pascal Laberge (C/LW)
Prospect Profile #24: Tage Thompson (C/RW) Prospect Profile #25: German Rubtsov (C)
Prospect Profile #26: Samuel Girard (D) Prospect Profile #27: Rasmus Asplund (C/LW)
Prospect Profile #28: Will Bitten (C) Prospect Profile #29: Tyler Benson (LW)
Prospect Profile #30: Carl Grundstrom (LW) Prospect Profiles #60 – #31 (2nd Round)

  • andyg

    I expect Brown to be selected ahead of Nylander.

    While their age and scoring rate is similar, Brown has better size and plays the more valuable position.

    And if he’s doing that while allegedly “dogging it”, that is even more impressive.

    • FishWhiskey

      The last sentence, in particular.

      Such an intriguing combination of size and skill; like others here, I am loathe to use the #5 on him.

      Pipe dream: If the Canucks were able to trade into the middle of the first round (12-20 range) while keeping the #5, that would be pretty dope. One of Dubois/Tkachuk AND Brown in the same draft? Hells yeah…

  • andyg

    I expect this is the player that Benning would like to draft if he moved away from the 5th pick. I just don’t see how Brown can get past the Flames at 6 however, as I don’t see them picking a defenseman or Nylander (as Burke wants some size).

    If Edmonton picks Tkachuk, I thought there would be a trade there with Montreal pining for Dubois. The 5th and Subban for the 9th, a 2nd and McCarron would have been a good deal for both sides, but I don’t think Brown will be there at 9.

  • Steampuck

    So what’s the play here if the Canucks pick Logan Brown at 5? Howls of derision that JB has picked the really big kid in keeping with his brawn-comes-first passions? Or has he seen something special/distinct in Brown that makes him worth the gamble?

    • FredTheCaveman

      I think it has the potential to be a real powder keg move.

      Picking him at 5 over Dubois or Tkachuk will likely give any analytic based fan an aneurysm. At the same time his scouting profile mentions that he doesn’t use his large body for physical play as much as you’d hope as well as being inconsistent with his effort levels. I could see him upsetting the old school community because he doesn’t play with enough heart/grit/whatever.

      I think personally the safer pick is Dubois/Tkachuk and leave Brown to the 6-15 crowd to roll the dice on.

  • andyg

    Seems like a Nick Bjugstad-type player. Probably argue you are not overspending at the 10 pick for a player like that.

    If he starts eating more raw meat, maybe he becomes a Martin Hanzal comp.

  • #12MorrisLukowich

    According to your own ratings (since you have Asplund & Rubstov 25 & 27) this kid’s the next centre available after Mathews

    Can’t see him falling out of the top 10…though you may have Clayton Keller ranked higher, Logan Brown’s a BEAST !

    • FishWhiskey

      When I look at a kid like Brown I always think back to the old adage about “Its not the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog.” Make no mistake, if this kid has any timidity in him he will get eaten alive at the pro level.

      I try to imagine how Bobby Clarke (GM) would access the kid at the Combine interview.

      Logan stands up to shake Bobby’s hand. Bobby slaps the kids hand aside and gives him a hard nipple twister and with the other hand gives Logan a sharp backhander to the huevos. If the kid tries to knock out another of Bobby’s teeth then Clarke moves heaven and earth to draft him. If Brown cowers and whines, he’s off the list.

  • andyg

    I like everything about Brown except his absence of aggression. If he used his size advantage more on the boards and threw more hits, he’d be Top 5 material. Otherwise, I think he’ll fizzle out like Big Country Reeves and the Grizzlies.

  • andyg

    Correct me if I am wrong but I think the point is to pick who will be the best player in 3 to 4 years.That is where this gets interesting. Players of size do not mature as fast. Look at Tryamkin, at 22 he still needs to get stronger and improve his stamina.

    So who will be the best player Dubois,Brown or Tkachuk. I am glad it is not me who has to decide.

    Brown is not a big checking center. He is very quick (and will get quicker)and skilled. He is a number one center.

  • Cageyvet

    If you’re looking for a long-term replacement for Hank out of this draft, your top choices are Dubois, Keller, Jost and Brown.

    Each has his risks. Dubois came on strong only this last year and the Q inflates scoring. Keller’s a midget. Jost is also small and played in a weaker league. And Brown, like many privileged kids, doesn’t have the most intense work ethic.

    Dubois and Brown make the most sense for me, because they’ve been battle tested in better leagues and you can’t teach size.

    But Brown is far more than just a size story. In the Spitfire games I watched this season, I’ve been more impressed with his speed, passing and shot, frankly, than his physical play.

    The “Thorton-esque” moniker isn’t too far off the mark.

    A quality hard ass coach could probably address Brown’s shifts off, so I wouldn’t complain at all if the Canucks traded down for Brown

  • FishWhiskey

    @froger84 – I agree. The tricky bit is trying to figure out where to trade down to in order to still be able to secure his services, especially with Calgary drafting behind us and Burke’s love of big players.

  • FishWhiskey

    Logan Brown is NOT a #1 center. That’s why he’s at this spot in the rankings, not just on this site, but as a general consensus of experts. He will likely be an NHL player, #2 or 3 center perhaps, but he’s not top of the roster calibre in a draft where a lot of other guys are.

    Chris Gratton scored 109 points in 58 games in his draft year in the OHL, plus 29 in 16 games in the playoffs, and scouts were drooling about his NHL size. You’d better believe the Lightning wish they’d picked Paul Kariya, all 5’10 of him, at #3 instead.

    Stop fetishizing “size” at the expense of skill and speed. All 3 together is great, but to play on an NHL first line you MUST at least have skill in spades and being big is simply not an adequate substitute. Brown has some skill, sure, but the scouting reports and stats point to a guy who will score in the NHL, but not at a “top 5 draft pick” rate.

  • andyg

    brown dominated canada at the u18. though chychrun looked like lindros carrying the puck at the same tourney. which brings us to the real question is the u18 tougher competition than the ohl? if it is brown deserves a higher ranking. if its not he deserves to be lower. we all know benning puts a lot of stock into that tourney. he could go at 5 if dubois gets taken at 4.

  • andyg

    This kid is gonna be great or a bust. You cant get by with size and talent with no effort in the Nhl. On a side note may most be likely to sleep with a player on his teams wife. Apple dosent fall far from the tree ?

  • andyg

    I’d try and get another late 1st pick if this guy slides down to that range. Deal Hansen+ and get that 1st.

    I sure wouldn’t use 5th overall on this guy. A good prospect for sure but the compete level is concerning.

  • FredTheCaveman

    let’s air out the gorilla in the room. if the kirk mclean/jeff brown story is true, there is no way linden is drafting jeff brown’s son. that would invite jeff back and cause serious bad blood among the alumni players.

    if that story is not true and brown was really healthy scratched and run out of town in 1995 because he clashed with rick “eddie shore junior” ley’s idea of an early season lunch bucket work ethic, then linden might be pretty high on logan brown, given that this is a different century and his dad made the best pass in canuck history.

    “highly skilled and a great passer but plays a little soft and is inconsistent on effort” would be the definitive jeff brown scouting report. easy to see how junior scouts would tend to penalize a kid for those flaws. but jeff was a great player in spite of them (and others), so maybe his son will be too.

  • FredTheCaveman

    It seems almost like some folks here have an anti-size bias. If a player is bigger it’s automatically assumed that he is LESS skilled than a smaller player (Chris Gratton seems to be the favorite bogeyman).

    I don’t like throwing around anecdotal BS, but it seems bigger players – especially guys who are still growing – need an extra year or two to put it all together, thus their draft year production may bot tell the entire tale. I would love to see someone take a look at height versus peak NHL production in forwards to see if this is true or simply an urban myth.

    With all that said, I agree you shouldn’t reach for a bigger, less skilled player when a player of obviously higher skill is on the draft board. For instance, I wouldn’t recommend Brown over Dubois if Dubois is available.

    Brown vs Tkachuk? More interesting, especially since Brown is apparently wowing at the combine.

  • FishWhiskey

    Drafting Brown over Tkachuck would establish that you are drafting by position over drafting by best player available…and that’s just wrong. Brown MAY pan out to be a top line center and a good player, Tkachuck WILL pan out to be a first line winger and a great player. Nothing is definite in the draft but Tkachuck is as close to a sure thing as you can find, Brown has a lot of unfulfilled potential still.

    Dubois and Tkachuck both fit the mould of first line, heavy minute, power forward players that will be the base of which your team builds around for years to come. They are both highly skilled, gritty, net presence type players that Benning has an earth shattering orgasm over, and there’s no chance in hell that he passes up over one of them. Maybe, MAYBE if he values Sergachev that highly…but Brown is still too much of a wild card to pass up 2 sure things over.

    You only take that kind of risk if Brown’s upside is greater than Dubois or Tkachuck, and it’s not.

    • andyg

      Totally reasonable argument except for guaranteeing that Tkachuk is a first line winger. That’s silly. There are no guarantees at the draft. I think there is about a 99% chance that Tkachuk is a future NHL regular, but the draft is littered with high first round draft picks that failed to meet potential for any variety of reasons.

      • andyg

        Believe the phrase “Nothing is definite in the draft…” was also used, that’s not a guarantee. You are right though, you’re always at risk of drafting a Stefan, Bonsignore, or a Daigle but there are an awful lot of NHL teams that would take Tkachuck in a heartbeat as they’re convinced about his first line potential. Brown is really intriguing but also too much of a wildcard still, personally I hope we consider them ranked

        Dubois
        Sergachev
        Tkachuck

  • FredTheCaveman

    since we’re discussing brown and tkachuk, what about the possibility both look better than they really are because of their hockey silver spoons? all things being equal you would expect the son of an nhl star at 18 to seem more polished and nhl ready than a kid with a regular background but exactly the same raw skills.

    their parents have given them the very best possible advice, skill development, training and playing opportunities, and they have lived in the pro-world and know how to behave. that has to give them a huge advantage.

    it might be that the advantage stays with them for their careers. but the track record of kids of nhl stars matching or exceeding their parents is not that great. maybe the other kids catch up and the advantage is gone after a couple of years as pros.

    • Cageyvet

      As is often the case, krutov, I agree with your take. And, as Steampuck and others have noted, it will be a gong show if JB goes off the board with one of the highest picks we’ve had in the history of the franchise.

      We simply can’t afford to gamble with a pick this high. No way does this kid go top 5 unless the GM has balls of steel. The second-guessing if he doesn’t pan out will haunt his career thereafter.

      Taking him in the mid-range of picks, however, will likely be lauded as an astute risk-reward move, as history has shown a sizeable number of those picks won’t develop into high-end NHL talent.