One of the oldest tropes in the scouting rulebook is "you can't teach size".
At 6'6 and 218lbs already, Windsor Spitfires centre Logan Brown is hard to miss on the ice - especially when he's dominating the center of it. The massive forward, son of former NHL defenseman Jeff Brown, is one of the most exciting forward prospects in the group clamouring for attention behind the Big Three of Matthews, Laine and Puljujarvi.
This season, he's certainly done his best to get noticed - the American/Canadian born in Raleigh, NC to Canadian parents has scored 21 goals and 53 assists for Windsor in his second OHL season, as well as functioning at a point per game for the US u-18 team. He has dual-citizenship and played for Canada at u17 level before electing to play for the US for the rest of his career.
At this year's u18 WJC he scored at a rate of nearly two points a game as he was part of a USA squad that took the bronze medal (beating Canada 10-3 in the bronze medal game), but it's not so much his goalscoring that has scouts so excited - it's his playmaking.
Brown is a player with almost unearthly patience. He can use his massive frame and long reach as a puck-protecting weapon of the highest order, holding the puck out of reach of defensemen as he waits for the perfect pass - or indeed shot. Here's a highlight reel which will show him at his best.
Note in particular the second goal early in the clip - remember that this is an 18-year-old in a frame of 6'6 and 218lbs. You'd expect skating to be considered as something of an issue but Brown POWERS away from his covering defenseman then uses his long reach to drastically change the angle on the goalie for his shot-something that will allow a whole ton of options on a scoring chance.
There are several assists, too, that show just what an eye Brown has and more importantly his awareness. Watch the one at 1:28, for example. In that clip Brown has the patience to slow up as he enters the offensive zone as he realises the support is a little slow in coming - you then see his long reach demonstrated to recover a loose puck but the key moment comes with the assist. As he turns towards the goal there is a shooting lane open - a lot of forwards at this point would likely take it. However, Brown is aware enough to not only notice the charging Christian Fischer on his left, but feed a perfectly-weighted pass through over a defenseman's stick that lands PERFECTLY for Fischer to smash home.
Finally, watch the assist at 5:58. This is what I mean by patience. On the powerplay, Brown realises he has a little extra time and uses it to full effect, drifting along the boards to create the perfect angle for a perfect cross-ice pass to Brendan Lemieux. That's just beautiful awareness.
Brown himself is keen to remain aware of his defensive responsibilities, too...he credits Bob Boughner with helping him become far more of a "two-way" player in his second season with the Spits. He's a strong faceoff man in any zone, and also keen to get involved in physical battles to establish position both along the boards and in front of the net.
Stylistically he's been compared to another big playmaker and ex-Bruins draft-pick in Joe Thornton...and let's be honest, being compared to one of the best playmaking centers of the modern era is one hell of a way to get teams interested in you come draft time.
If there is a knock on Brown, it's that he has a very good shot but doesn't really use it often enough - this is a player who is far happier spreading the puck around for someone else to score than shooting himself - although if 21 goals is an example of a player "not shooting enough" then...well, you can see the NHL potential.
As a top-six center he'd be the dream recruit of many teams, not least the Bruins, who have David Krejci and Ryan Spooner battling for the spot behind Bergeron right now but will likely need to say farewell to at least one of them sooner rather than later if they want to improve elsewhere.
Brown is the ideal prospect to fill a Krejci-esque void. He's big, powerful, developing quickly and has sublime playmaking skills. The B's may need to trade up a little to get him (he's ranked 14th among NA skaters but ten in ISS's scouting rankings) but such a trade will likely be repaid a hundredfold.
Ask any Bruins fan if they'd take a player with the potential to be another Joe Thornton in his career at 14 for a relatively small trading-up outlay, and the answer would surely be "yes".
Logan Brown could be a towering presence at center for NHL teams sooner rather than later. That alone makes him worthy of some very serious consideration for teams around the low teens in this NHL draft.