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PPP's Top 25 Under 25 - #14 Connor Brown

Brown blitzed the OHL in his final year in junior. What's next for Don Cherry's favourite World Junior snub?

Typically, the voting process reveals some major differences of opinion on the quality and outlook of the young players in the Toronto Maple Leafs system. The voting at the very top of the list doesn't usually differ too much, because the best players are much more obvious (same at the back). In the middle, from about position 7 down to the mid-30s, perception can swing wildly; one voter's 12th ranked selection doesn't even make the list sometimes for another. It's part of the reason why we crowdsource the opinions of nine different people for this process; one person's extreme opinion gets counterbalanced by eight others.

So to get the amount of consensus at #14, as the panel has found this time around with Connor Brown, is kind of unusual and refreshing.

Brown's made another major jump up the rankings, seven spots from last time around, landing comfortably in the middle of everybody's Top 25.

Birthyear: 1994-01-14 Birthplace: Etobicoke, ON, CAN
Age: 20 Nation: Canada
Position: RW Shoots: R
Height: 180 cm / 5'11" Weight: 77 kg / 170 lbs
Contract: 16/17
Drafted: 2012 round 6 #156 overall by Toronto Maple Leafs

Brown was a pretty high-profile prospect last season. He led the CHL (that's all three major junior leagues in Canada) in scoring last season with 128 points. Don Cherry took to his pulpit to decry Hockey Canada for not finding room on its roster for a guy leading the entire league in scoring. And oh, yeah, his linemate was the most famous player in junior hockey, Connor McDavid.

Brown nearly doubled his output from the previous season, which is impressive enough a feat when you aren't talking about a guy who was already scoring at a point per game. It's kind of strange to suggest a player that led the league in scoring wasn't in the spotlight, but a team that featured McDavid and two high-profile imports, Andre Burakowsky and Oskar Dansk, Brown wasn't really front and centre a lot of the time.

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So is this just an effect of a player reaching physical maturity as a 19-year old, playing with an exceptionally talented linemate taking full advantage of the situation? Should we expect Brown to continue to score at such a blistering clip now that he's no longer playing with the most highly rated player to come through junior hockey since Sidney Crosby? Will he even get those same opportunities, now that he has to earn ice time as a rookie for the Toronto Marlies? Will Brown's slightly undersized frame be able to compete against the much larger and physically mature players he'll face in the AHL?

Stay tuned for those answers, but until then, a player scoring that much, even taking into account his age and experience in the OHL, is noteworthy.

Name birky BowerPower Burtch Chemmy clrkaitken Nikota PPP SkinnyFish 67 Sound FINAL RANK
Connor Brown 12 13 15 12 15 17 13 14 12 14
Previous Ranking 19 16 - 13 19 - - - 18 21

Last year, the panel was split on Connor Brown, as he only cracked the Top 25 on 5 ballots. This year, he left no doubt as to his qualifications for this list, and was a unanimous choice, with everyone putting him within 3 spots of his eventual final placing, improving his ranking to some extent on everybody's final vote.

The Leafs aren't loaded with forward prospects who can score, so Brown's probably got as good a shot as anybody right now. He'd do very well for himself to prove last season wasn't a fluke for having Connor McDavid - clrkaitken

Because he turned 20 years old last year, NHLe works out to about 25 points. I'm skeptical about his huge scoring jump over the previous year. - PPP

Brown actually finished in a tie with our 13th-ranked prospect, but by virtue of the other player receiving a few votes in the Top 10, whereas nobody had Brown above 12th, leaves Brown in 14th for this year.