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A 12 months after an ACL tear, what’s going to Connor Brown's affect be on the Edmonton Oilers

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How good will Connor Brown be for the Edmonton Oilers?

Don’t ask the veteran scouts who sit within the press field with their popcorn and low or the new-age quantity crunchers who analyze expertise with a spreadsheet.

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Nope, should you actually need to learn about a participant, ask the individuals who line up in opposition to him on the ice, or sit subsequent to him within the dressing room. The fellows within the trenches can decide expertise and willpower higher than anybody.

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In Edmonton, the place Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl know a factor or two about what the Oilers are on the lookout for in a top-six ahead, critiques on the newly acquired winger are glowing.

“I’m actually enthusiastic about it, you may by no means have too many guys like Brownie,” mentioned Oilers captain Connor McDavid, who’s confronted off in opposition to Brown many instances within the NHL and was a teammate for 2 years with the Erie Otters in Junior.

“He performs the sport very equally to Zach Hyman, simply very tenacious and a great man within the room. He’s tremendous aggressive, desires to win in any respect prices. You may by no means have too a lot of these guys.

Draisaitl additionally compares Brown to Hyman, including that’s precisely what the Oilers want up entrance.

“Huge motor, he’s bought a giant motor to him,” mentioned Draisaitl, who’s seen sufficient of Brown over eight seasons within the NHL to know he’s not lots of enjoyable to play in opposition to. “He had a tricky 12 months final 12 months however he appears actually good.”

That’s the one caveat within the Connor Brown evaluate course of — everybody is aware of what he was like earlier than, and {that a} tenacious, hard-working winger who can end would have a serious affect on this workforce. What we don’t know for positive is what to anticipate from him now, on the opposite finish of an ACL damage that price him all however 4 video games final season.

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“He’s coming off a really vital knee damage so there needs to be slightly little bit of a grace interval for him,” mentioned McDavid. “However, with that being mentioned, I believe he appears nice. I do know he put in lots of laborious work and he’s transferring effectively. I’m positive he’s going to be nice proper off the bat.”

That’s what Brown is planning on. It’s been nearly a full 12 months for the reason that Oct. 17 damage that ended his season with the Washington Capitals and the 29-year-old says the restoration course of, as lengthy and troublesome because it was, went extraordinarily effectively.

“I really feel on top of things, I really feel able to go,” he mentioned after the workforce’s low season exercise at Rogers Place. “There was clearly lots of adversity this 12 months and I discovered loads. It’s lots of laborious work to dig your self out of that gap.

“It’s a psychological grind to get your self again to a degree the place you’re feeling assured however I really feel like I’m there. I’m that rather more grateful to not solely be enjoying once more however to be with this group.”

Brown is round a 40-point participant when he’s wholesome, which isn’t a lot to get enthusiastic about till you contemplate that so was Hyman earlier than he got here right here and he posted 59 and 83 within the final two seasons. So there would possibly nonetheless be appreciable room for Brown’s upside to develop right here in Edmonton.

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The final time the Connors performed collectively was in 2013 when 18-year-old Brown edged out 15-year-old McDavid within the workforce’s scoring race. They’d some depraved chemistry again then, and whereas there is no such thing as a assure that may translate to the NHL 10 years later, they’re each hoping to choose up the place they left off.

“I believe we’re nonetheless the identical folks,” mentioned Brown. “We each need to win, before everything. It’s the NHL, a great distance type Junior hockey however we’ve each been round for 9 seasons now and we all know what to anticipate at this degree.”

He additionally is aware of what to anticipate from McDavid. Even again then, Brown knew his younger teammate was going to be one thing particular.

“Rising up within the Toronto space all people had heard of him,” he mentioned. “And when he got here to Erie it was nice enjoyable for me. At the same time as an 18- or 19-year-old, three years older than him, I don’t assume there was anybody I discovered extra from.

“Simply the best way he approached the sport at that age and what he does on the ice, his compete and the best way he makes use of his velocity, little issues throughout the sport. I’m excited to be entrance and centre and be taught from him and attempt to enhance my sport.”

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That’s simply one of many causes Brown selected Edmonton because the launching pad for his comeback. Past the relationships with McDavid and former Maple Leafs teammate Hyman, he sees this the identical method the Oilers do — a stable alternative to be the final workforce standing.

“I believe it’s fairly apparent,” he mentioned of his cause for choosing Edmonton. “The workforce. It’s an excellent workforce. They’ve been competing yearly to try to recover from the hump and to win. That’s what I need to do at this level in my profession.

“The group is in an excellent spot, everybody is absolutely hungry. It’s a very thrilling time to be an Oiler. I really feel honoured to be part of this.”

E-mail: [email protected]

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