When the Ottawa Senators acquired defenceman Josh Brown from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a 2020 4th round pick (95th overall), it wasn’t just so they could potentially have a goal scored by Brown, assisted by Brown and Brown next season. Surely, head coach D.J. Smith had a hand in the acquisition, having coached Brown as the captain of his Memorial Cup Winning Oshawa Generals back in 2015.
General Manager Pierre Dorion has many holes to fill on his roster the way it’s currently laid out, and many of those holes lie on the back end. With the departure of long-time Senator Mark Borowiecki along with Ron Hainsey and Dylan Demelo, Ottawa has suddenly lost three key guys from last year’s blue line. Granted, last year’s blueline was sub-par at best, but the roles need to be filled, and a rough and tumble guy like Josh Brown fits the bill for Ottawa.
At just 26 years old, Brown is still a young enough player that he can continue to grow. Over the past two seasons, Brown has played 93 games with the Panthers, scoring ten points, and averaging just over 13 minutes of ice-time over that span. While these numbers might seem concerning on paper, Brown’s game is about defensive prowess, and making sure the opponent knows when he’s on the ice.
“Josh Brown is a big, strong defenceman who plays a physical style of game,” Pierre Dorion shared in a press release. “He’s a defensive defenceman who skates very well and who is exceptionally competitive. He’s also a very good shot-blocker who clears a lot of space in front of the net. We’re looking forward to seeing him in our lineup.”
That’s a pretty good endorsement from the GM; basically saying that Brown has a spot in the lineup already. Then again, with the uncertainty and number of spots available on defence, Brown should get every opportunity to prove himself. He’s a right shot (but can also play left) with great leadership potential. Along with his strong defensive game and physical abilities, it could lead fans to believe he’d fit well with Thomas Chabot on the number one pair.
It may seem far-fetched but unless we see more acquisitions, Brown could be the best option. Dorion backed up his claim by signing the RFA to a 2-year $2.4 million deal which will pay him $1.0 in year 1 and $1.4 in year 2. It’s a low-risk signing for a younger, cheaper player and, depending on what Ottawa does over the course of free agency, Brown will most likely be playing a key role on next year’s team at the very least.