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Two Connors: Let’s Do It Again

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Photo credit:Eerie Otters
Robin Brownlee
9 months ago
As reunions go, they don’t get much more timely or unlikely than the one that has former Erie Otters teammates Connor McDavid and Connor Brown back together again with the Edmonton Oilers this season.
It’s timely because Oilers’ GM Ken Holland went into the UFA season Saturday in need of some top six help on the right side with Kailer Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi gone and Brown, a two-time 20-goal scorer coming off a season lost to surgery, has shown he knows how to find the net.
It seemed unlikely on the face of things because Brown, 29, was paid $3.6 million last season, and that kind of money wasn’t going to fit into Holland’s budget under the salary cap. Of course, where there’s a will – McDavid had some sway in that — there’s a way, so a one-year deal with a cap hit of $775,000 and bonuses worth $3.225 million did the trick.
So, Erie’s old captain and the Oilers present captain are together again for the first time since the 2013-14 OHL season for a one-year look-see. It’s situation that could turn into something longer down the road with a deal that makes this a no-brainer for Holland as well as for Brown and his agent Jeff Jackson.
Since Brown has played in 400 NHL games and missed 100 days due to the ACL injury and surgery, he was eligible under the CBA to take an incentive-laden deal in free agency.

GET IT DONE

Oct 5, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Connor Brown (28) on ice prior to the Capitals’ game against the Detroit Red Wings at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
“I’m pumped,” Brown told James Duthie of TSN. “It’s a great opportunity for me coming off an injury to play with a team that’s looking to get over the top and looking to get the job done. I’m excited to come in and make a difference next year.
“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. I’m coming off an injury and trying to get things back on track, so that was a massive factor in wanting to sign there. I know they have guys like Zach Hyman and (Darnell) Nurse and (Ryan) McLeod, who played for my dad. I kind of know the character of the guys who are in that room. I’m excited to join it.”
Of course, McDavid was in the middle of this. He talked to Holland about Brown.
“I talked to (McDavid) two or three times since the end of the season about Connor Brown, and he’s a player that hates to lose,” Holland said. “You’re bringing a guy into that locker room that’s got a lot of determination, a lot of passion, hates to lose, and is a driven athlete. I’m sure he’s going to drive himself to get up and running as quickly as possible.”
McDavid talked to Brown about the situation here and where he might fit in the big picture.
“Yeah, he was,” Brown said when asked if McDavid was part of the recruiting process. “Obviously, when you have the best player in the world who wants you on their team and thinks that you can help them get over the hump, it means a lot after what was a tough season. I’m excited to come to camp.”

THE BOTTOM LINE

Given the severity of Brown’s injury, he’s far from a sure thing and his health, obviously, will be the most significant factor in how this plays out. Even allowing for that caveat, it’s a smart bet by Holland and a great opportunity for Brown. 

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