Connor Brown: Opportunity Knocks
Photo credit:Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
2 months ago
From the two seasons Connor Brown played alongside Connor McDavid with the Erie Otters to watching his old teammate tear it up with the Edmonton Oilers after both of them graduated to the NHL, it didn’t take Brown long to figure out where he wanted to be this season.
Brown, 29 and coming off a season in which he was limited to four games because of an ACL injury and subsequent surgery to repair it, knew that even with 448 NHL games in the books, he’d need to re-establish himself. What better place than Edmonton, especially with the two best players on the planet in McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, already here? Easy call.
“I think the situation in Edmonton is pretty obvious,” Brown said of the opportunity in front of him in an interview with Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer today. “I mean, they’ve got the two best players in the world in my view, and they’ve got a team that’s looking to get over the edge.
“I think that with what I know I can bring, I could add an element, so as far as hockey goes, I think it’s a perfect fit for me.”
Brown led the Otters in scoring in his three seasons with Erie, putting up 53, 69, and 128 points from 2011-12 to 2013-14. In 2014-15 with Brown in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies, it was McDavid who went off with Erie. After seasons of 66 and 99 points, McDavid scored 44-76-120 in 2014-15 leading up to the Oilers taking him first overall in the 2015 Entry Draft.
Oilers fans have since had a front row seat for McDavid’s rapid rise to being the best player in the NHL and that hasn’t been lost on his old junior teammate. To hear Brown tell it, what we’re seeing is no surprise. Brown also thinks there’s more to come.
“I think he’s just getting started,” Brown said of McDavid’s career to date. “It doesn’t surprise me. One thing is obviously the speed and intelligence at which he does everything. That, combined with the absolute maximum amount of drive somebody can have, that’s a pretty lethal combination.
“I don’t think he’s done improving. I think he’s just scratching the surface, so I’m excited to push the envelope night in and night out and watch him, reach his potential here.”
Oct 5, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Connor Brown (28) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Brown might be pushing it a bit, but who am I to say? McDavid has made fools of doubters before. As for Brown and what Oilers’ fans can expect from the two-time 20-goal man, it may take some time until he is fully up to speed.
“I’m back on the ice,” Brown said of his recovery timeline. “I’ve been on the ice for a few weeks now. You slowly want to ramp it up. You’re on the ice for 10 minutes to start, then 20. I’m kind of slowly ramping it up.
“The knee feels strong and good. With the eight months off, a lot of the other things with my body feel better than they’ve felt. It’s been an opportunity these last eight months to get my body in an ideal spot moving into the second half of my career.”
GM Ken Holland, who got Brown signed for $775,000 in base salary and bonuses worth $3.225 million, knows it might take Brown a while to find his stride.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“Obviously, he’s coming off a tough injury,” Holland said. “As we get to October, it’ll be 11 months (since) the injury, so he’s very optimistic he’ll be ready to go for training camp and be ready for the season. My expectation is it’s going to take him a little while to get going.
“I think we’re going to have to be patient with him. I don’t think you’re going to hit the ice for game one and you’re going to be the same guy you were last year. Once he’s up and running, I know he’s going to have a real impact on our team.”
Recent articles from Robin Brownlee