Connor Brown has impressed at every level in his young career.
In his first year as a pro, Brown leads all rookies in scoring with 57 points (18 goals, 39 assists) in 70 games.
He prides himself on his all-around game and continued development. But now he has some of the accolades, being named to the AHL’s All-Rookie team.
“It’s certainly nice to be recognized,” said Brown. “The coaching and staff here have allowed me to adapt to the pro level. I think I’ve developed as the year has gone on and I’m a different player at the beginning of the year, and I’m just going to keep pushing forward like that.”
There has been no shortage of adversity for Brown, who was drafted in late rounds at both the junior and pro level. But he’s quickly made a name for himself.
“I learned a very valuable lesson last year when I was in the Soo and we played Erie in the playoffs which is he is a very tough player to defend, a player that you should never underestimate when you’re preparing to play against him,” said Leafs Assistant GM Kyle Dubas. “He’s, frankly, been the best player on the Marlies the entire season. As a rookie, to see him get this achievement today is very well deserved. It certainly won’t be the last of the awards that’ll he have a chance to put himself into contention for throughout his career.”
Last season, Brown led the OHL in scoring with 128 points in 68 games to earn both the scoring title and the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player. Many were quick to point out the supporting cast Brown had with the Erie Otters and if that success would translate with a different group of players at the pro level.
Clearly, he’s adapting well.
“I wanted to be a key contributor here. For me, it was never about proving anyone wrong or anything like that. I wanted to be the best player that I can be and contribute as much as I could this year, and I feel like I can do that.”
The Marlies are itching to crawl back into a playoff spot with just a handful of games to go.
They currently sit two points out of a playoff spot with six games left to play.
“It’s good for us,” said Brown. “We had that nine-game slide earlier in the year and were far out of the playoffs and we battled back all year.”
As the Maple Leafs begin to start shaping their future beyond this season, Brown’s enthusiasm for the game and commitment to hard work has made him a model player in the organisation.
“He has a purpose every day and his energy level and spirit hasn’t dropped once,” said Dubas. “He’s someone when you walk into the dressing room, you see he is excited to be there. He’s always talks about hockey. He knows what’s going on around hockey. It’s a good story for the rest of our guys coming up from junior and college with the Marlies.”