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Can new Edmonton Oilers forward Connor Brown score 30 goals with Connor McDavid?

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Photo credit:Icon Sportswire/Getty
Aleena Aksenchuk
7 months ago
It was a good day on July 1st for Oilers fans and Connor McDavid as they welcomed a new member to the crew in orange and blue, forward Connor Brown. As the offseason is starting to close and the 2023-24 season is just over a month away, one has to wonder: Can Brown score 30 goals with McDavid?
Brown has proven he can put up impressive numbers in lower levels scoring 32 goals and 90 points in his 110 AHL games, and 98 goals and 250 points in his 199 OHL games. Although he hasn’t surpassed the 30-goal mark yet in his professional career, he’s projected to play right wing with McDavid at the centre and Zach Hyman on the other side, which should complement his offensive production next to elite-level talent. His offensive instincts will also play a key role in what should be increased production for Brown, as he is well known for his high hockey IQ and sensibility on the ice.
It’s no secret that McDavid and Brown have a history dating back to their time with the OHL’s Erie Otters. Brown was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs 156th overall in the 2012 draft after his rookie OHL season and returned to the Otters the following year with a ‘C’ on his chest for McDavid’s rookie season. Brown would put up an impressive 28 goals and 69 points in their first shared season and raised the bar in his final year, scoring 45 goals and 128 points.
Although the two never played much on the same line, they frequently shared time on the Otters’ top power play line, which could resurrect again this year.
I don’t think it’s hard to miss Brown’s impression on the now-Oilers captain, as he ultimately showed him the ropes during their time together in the OHL. Brown was committed to competition and dedicated to his skill and craft, which hints at why McDavid was so eager to have him on the Oilers and leave that same impression on a team dedicated to bringing the Stanley Cup back to Alberta’s Capital City.
Last year, Brown suffered a season-ending ACL injury just four games into his campaign with the Washington Capitals. Before that, he spent three years with the Ottawa Senators, totalling 47 goals and 117 points over 191 games after being traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the summer of 2019. He’s not an overly flashy player and usually sits around the 30-40 point mark, with his best season dating back to 2019-20, his first season with the Senators, when he scored 16 goals and 43 points. Brown was near even in shot attempt share, but below average in terms of his actual goal share, and expected goal share. This, however, is likely to rebound in Edmonton as his PDO in Ottawa regularly sat below 50 percent.
Although the two never played much on the same line, they frequently shared time on the Otters’ top power play line, which could resurrect again this year.
The most significant contributor to help answer the question is the dedication the two forwards share. Brown is known as a hard-working, driven player and is now joining a team that has made it more than clear they want a Stanley Cup in their hands.
“I love playing in Edmonton. I’m 100 percent committed to winning in Edmonton with this group,” McDavid told Sportsnet’s Mark Spector. “And we’re gonna see it through.”
Similarly, Brown told NHL.com’s Mark Zeisberger, “I want to win. I know Connor. I’ve known him for a long time, and I know he wants to win bad. It’s kind of the environment I want to be in.”
Previous evidence reveals that playing alongside McDavid is proven to help a player’s offensive production. Let’s look at Zach Hyman, who had never hit the 30-goal mark until last year. In his first year with the Oilers (2021-22), he trumped his goal by production, improving by six goals and 14 points from his best year with the Maple Leafs in 2018-19 (21 goals and 40 points). He was projected to play top line minutes next to McDavid that season but spent most of his time on the second line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. It wasn’t until last season, when McDavid accompanied him on the top line, that he blossomed and passed the 30-goal mark.
Now, with the addition of Brown, McDavid may be even more confident in what their team can do, and Brown may finally have what he needs to hit that 30-goal mark. I fully believe that Brown can succeed with this team and meet the expectations set for him. It’s going to be exciting to see how Brown will perform with this team.

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