The Arizona Coyotes might be in a playoff race, but the team will no doubt still have one eye on potential moves in the summer.
Teams are always looking at ways to improve and the Arizona Coyotes could do a lot of good with looking at Toronto Maple Leafs forward Connor Brown.
The 25-year-old has had a long, but intriguing route to the NHL after being selected in the sixth round (156th overall) of the 2012 draft.
After being drafted, Brown spent two more seasons in major juniors as the captain of the Erie Otters, playing alongside Connor McDavid in the 2013/14 OHL season.
His first season with the Toronto Marlies in the AHL saw Brown earn the most assists (40) and most points (61) by a rookie, playing 76 regular season games.
Brown played 34 games with the Marlies the following year and was rewarded with a seven-game stint with the NHL club towards the end of the season, earning six points (one goal, five assists) in seven games.
The Etobicoke native now has 238 regular season games under his belt in the NHL and has a respectable 93 points (40 goals, 53 assists).
Brown has found himself overshadowed by the plethora of top-producing forwards on the Leafs’ roster, finding himself playing the fewest minutes of his career this season with 14:15 on average.
During his 20-goal rookie campaign, Brown averaged 16:12 on the ice.
In 67 games this season, Brown has just five goals and 23 total points, though he has the most assists on any NHL season so far in his career with 18.
The right winger is a gritty forward that does have some goalscoring upside when he is given the right role within a team – something the Arizona Coyotes could certainly accommodate.
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Brown is a player that Rick Tocchet would love to have in his team, fitting his system well with his battling personality and ability to win puck battles more often than not.
This season alone, Brown has 27 takeaways and just 10 giveaways, across his career this stand at 116 and 61 respectively – winning almost double the battles he loses on the ice.
Brown is also willing to do the dirty stuff such as block shots and throw hits, making him an all-rounder that could slide into Tocchet’s system better than many other wingers in the league.
The Leafs may also be willing to part ways with Brown if the Coyotes approach them in the summer, with the Canadian team already trying to ship him out at the trade deadline.
The Toronto Maple Leafs need to offload some cap space this summer, with Brown currently on the books for another season at $2.1 million.
After his current deal expires, Brown will be a restricted free agent – giving any team he is on some control over his future.
For the cash-conscious Coyotes, a deal could be negotiated for after July 1st – when Brown is set to receive a $500,000 bonus, with his actual salary for the season being just $1.6 million.
If the Leafs look at moving Brown, the Arizona Coyotes should at least make a call due to his relatively low cost and intangibles that would suit the style of hockey currently being played in the desert.
What do you think Coyotes fans? While he’s not the most adventurous player, would you be happy to see someone like Brown in the desert? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!