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Windsor center Brown defies stereotypes

Top prospect for 2016 draft combines size with playmaking ability

by Mike G. Morreale @MikeMorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Thursday, NHL.com will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

Forward Logan Brown of Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League is more than a typical playmaking center.

At 6-foot-6 and 222 pounds, Brown is anything but typical. The fact that he has a fluid skating stride to complement his deceptive speed makes him one of the more intriguing talents available for the 2016 NHL Draft. 

"I've been pretty big my entire life but have also put in a lot of work on the ice every day," Brown said. "I work on having quick feet and that explosiveness that might help me become one of those better skaters." 

Brown's father, former NHL player Jeff Brown, said his son never refused extra ice time. Jeff Brown would take his son to a nearby rink before or after school five or six times a week. 

"I coached him basically his whole life and he always was one of the hardest workers on the team," said Brown, the general manager and coach of Ottawa of the OHL. "He was always tall so he was used to his size. It wasn't as if he had a growth spurt and had to suddenly get used to it." 

Logan's ability and power on his skates sets him apart from other top draft-eligible players. It certainly helps to have experienced linemates who have gone through the draft process in left wing Brendan Lemieux, chosen by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round (No. 31) in 2014 but traded to the Winnipeg Jets in February 2015, and right wing Christian Fischer (Arizona Coyotes, No. 32, 2015). 

"In this draft especially there are a lot of big guys who can skate and stickhandle," Brown said. "But I like to think I have those qualities along with good hockey sense." 

Logan was born in North Carolina but learned much of his hockey in St. Louis after moving there as a 1-year-old. 

"My little brother [Caden Brown] loves the game too, but we played baseball and soccer as well," Brown said. "It was never the same feeling as playing hockey though." 

Logan Brown played with and against older skaters from the time he was 10 years old with the St. Louis Junior Blues program. He received instruction from his father as well as Blues stars Keith Tkachuk and Al MacInnis. 

"They all put a lot of work into developing our 1996, 1997 and 1998 [born] age groups and that was huge," Logan Brown said. "We've had a lot of success stories coming out of St. Louis ever since." 

Brown spent one season with the Indiana Ice midget under-16 team before being selected by Niagara with the No. 6 pick in the 2014 OHL draft. He was traded to Windsor on Aug. 25, 2014 for six draft picks. 

"He is a kid with unlimited potential, good size, a lot of skill and a high hockey IQ," Windsor general manager Warren Rychel said. "A player like Logan is hard to find." 

Brown said he and his father have made bets the past two summers on whether Windsor or Ottawa would finish with the most points at the end of the regular season. The family patriarch took the prize in 2014-15 after an 81-point season; Windsor had 52 points. 

This season the youngster is leading as Windsor has 72 points to Ottawa's 61. 

"It's pretty funny because people always ask me if I'm able to get systems out of him while not letting out any of our secrets," Logan said. "I have an idea what he might do, but he's a really good coach. If I think I've figured out his system, he'll find a way to adjust." 

Brown is No. 14 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of North American skaters eligible for the 2016 draft. Dan Marr, NHL Director of Central Scouting, said Brown is a player trending upward. 

"He's still growing, which is amazing because he's already big as it is," Marr said. "His skating has developed and I just think it will take a little more time for the rest of it to catch up to his body. When he has the confidence and assertiveness to play to his size and play a little more selfishly, then his numbers will rise and good things will begin to happen." 

Brown has 12 goals, 55 points and a plus-19 rating in 48 games this season. He also has won 52 percent of his faceoffs. He had 17 goals, 26 assists, 43 points and a minus-8 rating in 56 games as an OHL rookie in 2014-15. 

He scored a goal for Team Cherry at the 2016 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Vancouver on Jan. 28. 

Windsor defenseman Logan Stanley, No. 23 on Central Scouting's midterm list of North American skaters, knows how important Brown is to their team. 

"He's one of our best forwards for sure, and if we didn't have him I think we'd be stuck up the middle," Stanley said. "He's a big presence and very skilled. In practice he's hard to contain. He plays in a big guy's body but he's got the skill set of a smaller forward with the way he protects the puck and uses his body." 

Windsor defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, No. 10 on Central Scouting's midterm list, said Brown is very tough to slow in practice. 

"He's so big he plays like Jaromir Jagr, something like that ability," Sergachev said. 

Brown never had an opportunity to watch his father play in the NHL live, but has viewed countless videotapes of him. 

"When I watched those tapes, that's when I decided I wanted to play in the NHL," Brown said. "It became a dream for me. I think the greatest memory I have of a game was when he sprung Pavel Bure from the defensive zone with a tape-to-tape pass that led to the goal that beat the Calgary Flames in overtime (in the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs)." 

Jeff Brown was asked if he remembered the play. 

"Of course I remember the pass," he said. "One of my most memorable moments from my career."

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