Having a true, number one center is hard to come by in the NHL. It took the Nashville Predators 18 years to find their first, true number one center, and Ryan Johansen was acquired via trade. Number one centers don’t grow on trees, so when the opportunity is there to take a potential franchise player, you do.
Enter Logan Brown of the Windsor Spitfires, ranked seventh overall in North America by NHL Central Scouting. Brown, a 6’6″, 220-pound center is that future number one center. In the 2015-16 regular season, Brown put up 74 points (21G-53A), good for second on the team in scoring.
Brown has hockey in his blood. His father, Jeff Brown, spent 13 years in the NHL as defenseman, and his experience helped Logan develop into the player he is today. Logan Brown was born in Raleigh, North Carolina while his father was part of the Carolina Hurricanes organization. While he was born in the United States, he holds dual citizenship with the U.S. and Canada. Brown has played for the national team of both counties in international play.
- He uses his body and big frame to have his way in both zones
- Wins face-offs, especially when they matter in the defensive zone
- Incredible hockey sense and chemistry with teammates
- He’s always moving to be involved in the play, making himself available for passes or looking to make the right play
- ISS Hockey rank: 7th overall
During the 2015-16 season, Brown won 609 face-offs out of 1,148, good for 53.05%.
“Whenever you can start with the puck, it’s better than having to chase it. It’s a potential 20 seconds of energy that you can spend trying to score instead of trying to defend. I’ve been putting a lot of hard work in with [head coach] Rocky [Thompson] after practice and in the mornings. He’s been able to teach me a lot, little maneuvers and tricks that maybe help you win a couple extra draws a night.”
Head Coach Rocky Thompson:
“It’s been a work in progress. He’s starting to understand the chess match as a centerman in the draw. Having a foundation in his draws, knowing what to look for, not just doing the same thing over and over again. That’s something, as a centerman gets older, they get much better at. He definitely is our number one guy in the face-off circle. He’s a smart person and understands how valuable it is.”
Defensive zone awareness
As a number one center for the Spitfires, Brown was expected to contribute on both ends of the ice. He has a knack for scoring and making smart passes, but is also positionally aware in the defensive zone. While not the best judge of a player’s responsibility, Brown finished the regular season at a +24.
“Especially in a big game, you have to be on the right side of the puck. If you ever get caught on the wrong side, it’s a potential opportunity for them to score. Again, Rocky has been harping on things all year to get on the right side of the puck and get pucks out and deep. The better you are defensively, the more chances you’ll get offensively. That’s the mindset I’ve had all year.”
Head Coach Rocky Thompson:
“We’ve taught him to never be ahead of the play. He has to be responsible. It’s been great for him. He has the legs, he’s great in tight areas. What we’ve really tried to work on is his mentality of shooting the puck and getting to the front of the net. He’s so big and strong and heavy on his skates that he’s difficult to defend. He defends really well in our d-zone. I play him up against the opponents toughest skates every night and they don’t generate a lot of shots against when he’s on the ice.”
When being scouted on March 10, 2016 against Sarnia, the team had a rough go overall, but Brown’s abilities did impress. At times, it seemed like he had eyes in the back of his head as he was able to know where teammates would be at all times, especially in the offensive zone. He possesses a very mature hockey sense.
“It’s hockey sense,” said Brown on his ability to find players. “You might be born with it. You can’t really teach hockey sense. I think obviously growing up I watched the game. I watched the game differently than a lot of kids. I would watch each and every player and find the tendencies in their game and try to add them to my game. Growing up, it’s being on the ice. My dad played in the NHL for 13 years, so he has a great understanding of the game and he was a really smart player. He’s passed down a lot of that to me.”
As a big, power center, Logan Brown modeled his game after a very well-known power center still playing in the league.
“I love watching Joe Thornton,” said Brown. “He’s a big center and he thinks the game really well. He’s real methodical the way he plays, and what he does on the ice. Growing up, he’s been my idol because he is a big center, and he’s smart, and he’s a pass-first guy. It’d be awesome if I could mimic my game and have even half the career that he’s had.”
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