Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Waiting on Connor Brown
1 month ago
We know Connor Brown can score goals at the NHL level because he’s done it 90 times, including seasons of 20 and 21 goals, during the 477 career games he’s played.
The problem for the Edmonton Oilers is Brown, who played for Kris Knoblauch and with Connor McDavid with the Erie Otters in the OHL, hasn’t managed to find the back of the net even once in 29 games since he signed a one-year deal with the Oilers. They could surely use a goal here and there over the rest of this season.
All told, it’s been 47 games since Brown scored a goal – he did that as a member of the Ottawa Senators against the Winnipeg Jets back on March 14, 2022. The rest we know – he went from Ottawa to the Washington Capitals last season, but played just four games before a knee injury and surgery ended his season.
Brown, 29, came to Edmonton looking for a fresh start and he got it, even playing alongside McDavid early, but he hasn’t been able to get anything to go in the net. With just three assists to show for 45 shots and 14:10 of ice time per game to this point, Brown gets another chance against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight on a line with Evander Kane and Derek Ryan.
NOW’S THE TIME
Dec 19, 2023; Elmont, New York, USA; Edmonton Oilers right wing Connor Brown (28) skates against the New York Islanders during the first period at UBS Arena.
“He’s been making a lot of plays and creating a lot of offence,” Knoblauch said. “You know, it hasn’t shown up on the scoresheet very much, but he’s been playing really well.”
Brown’s been around the net a lot lately – 15 of his 45 shots have come in the last eight games – and that counts for something, but it becomes cold consolation the longer the dry spell lasts. Just going by his career shooting percentage of 11.0, he should have had three or four pucks find the back of the net by now, but no. Bupkis. So tonight, Brown has another go at it with Kane and Ryan.
“I think it’s just more of seeing if we can get a little more out of those two lines,” Knoblauch said. “Maybe they’ve become a little stagnant and haven’t been pushing the pace as much as we’d like. Just a little tweak there and maybe we can stimulate something with that third and fourth line.”
Knoblauch has been leaning heavily on his top two lines and stopper Stuart Skinner during this seven-game winning streak. If he can coax more production out of his bottom six, his team becomes more difficult to defend against.
“He’s creating offence, spending more time in the offensive zone,” Knoblauch said of Brown. “He’s doing a lot of good things. It’s only a matter of time before he gets that first goal, and we just build from there.”
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