Name: Chris Brown
Team: US National Team Development Program U18
Weight: 191 lbs.
2008-2009 stats: 53 games, 15 goals, 13 assists, 28 points
Technically, Tyler Myers became the highest drafted Texan ever in the NHL Draft when he was selected 12th overall by the Buffalo Sabres , which is a shame because Myers, who grew up in Canada and has chosen to play internationally with Canada, is about as Texan as voting Democrat. Chris Brown may not be drafted as highly as Myers was last season, but he is one of the first true success stories to come out of Texas to be highly drafted in the NHL.
Brown's home town is listed as Flower Mound, Texas, just outside of Dallas, and he grew up playing hockey in the Dallas youth system, until he reached the age of 15. At that point, he made the move to the Detroit area to play for the Detroit Honeybaked Program alongside future NHL draft picks Cam Fowler, Drew Shore, Kenny Ryan, Kevin Lynch, David Valek, and Chris Crane. That September, he became one of the youngest players to commit to a college hockey team when he agreed to play for the University of Michigan. His play that season also earned him an invitation to play for the US National Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Since making the move to Michigan, Brown has added 20 lbs. of muscle to his 6'2" frame, rounding out at a solid 190 lbs. His offensive skills never really panned out as hoped, but he's a very solid, hard-nosed player that will pick up his fair share of points just by going to the net and causing havoc. He's a team-first player that plays great defensive and is always willing to throw his weight around, but what seperates him from other "grinders" is that he also has very good skating ability.
Strengths: Size, Defensive play, Attitude
Needs to Improve: Scoring ability
Links of Interest:
Prospects Hockey Feature-January 2007
2009 Michigan Hockey Recruits-November 2008
Wolverines Lasso Texan November 2008
Brown Prioritizes Lofty Goals- April 2009
Area Hockey Giving Plenty a Good Shot-Dallas News May 2009
July 17, 2008: "Played like a bull in a china shop, which didn’t work well with the tight officiating, but a very impressive prospect. He skates extremely well for his size and isn’t afraid to throw his weight around. One of the more impressive forwards at the cap."
September 22, 2008: "I continue to be impressed with how he's playing. He's big, skates well, and throws his body around. Plus, he's starting to get time with the top lines and his point totals look to be going up. Draft Stock: I already had him fairly higher, but he might move up even higher."
December 3, 2008: "The comparison to Eric Nystrom is pretty much spot on. Neither is going to score a lot of points unless they get paired up with a superstar, but both play very hard and are solid responsible players. The big difference is that Brown skates better than Nystrom did, and is a little more physical. I'd expect him to get picked somewhere in the second round of the NHL Draft this summer."
April 6, 2009: "I've always been very impressed with what Brown brings to the table. He's not a huge offensive threat, but he's a big guy that will skate well, throw his weight around on both ends of the ice and create havoc in front of the net. He's maybe not a first round draft pick just because he won't provide a lot of offense, but he'll be a solid second or third round pick."
Brown probably doesn't have the potential to be a huge goalscorer in the NHL, which will probably be what keeps him out of the first round of the draft, but he could be a very solid piece of the puzzle for whichever team drafts him. He projects to probably be a third, maybe even second line winger that will play great defense and chip in the occasional goal, and his skating is good enough that he'd be a good match-up against another team's top line. Plus, the odds of him reaching that potential look pretty good. It may not be a sexy pick, but he could end up being a very valuable hockey player.