2009-10: Connor Brown played for a powerful Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget AAA team that featured seven players who were taken in the 2012 NHL Draft. In 80 games he scored 25 goals with 44 assists and had 16 penalty minutes. Brown was selected by the Erie Otters in the 13th round (251st overall) of the 2010 OHL Priority Draft.
2010-11: Brown skated for the St. Michael’s Buzzers in the Ontario Junior A Hockey League. In 49 regular season games he scored 17 goals with 22 assists and had 18 penalty minutes. The Buzzers finished fifth in the OJHL South Division and lost in the playoff qualifying round. In three playoff games Brown had 1 assist.
2011-12: Brown was the leading scorer for Erie in his first OHL season on a team that finished with the league’s worst record. He played all 68 games for the Otters and had 25 goals with 28 assists and 14 penalty minutes; finishing minus-72 as Erie won ten games . Ranked 110th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings, he was selected by Toronto in the sixth round (156th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
2012-13: Brown led the Erie Otters in scoring for the second straight season on a team that once again finished last in the OHL’s Midwest Division. A team captain as an 18-year-old, he scored 28 goals with 41 assists in 63 games and was -11 with 39 penalty minutes. The Otters missed the playoffs after finishing with the OHL’s second-worst record.
Brown was the OHL’s leading scorer in his final season of junior hockey. Playing on an explosive Erie team that had the league’s leading goal scorer in overage forward Dane Fox and explosive rookie Connor McDavid, Brown scored 45 goals and led the OHL with 83 assists, finishing +44 with 22 penalty minutes in 68 regular season games. He scored 20 goals on the Otters’ power play. Erie finished second to eventual Memorial Cup runner-up Guelph in the Midwest Division and lost to the Storm in the Western Conference finals. Brown scored 8 goals with 10 assists ands was +1 with 8 penalty minutes in 14 playoff games. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Maple Leafs in November 2013.
Brown is a highly-skilled, small forward who has a grit to his game and plays with heart, determination, and an unmatched work ethic. He has a knack for scoring goals, but also has strong vision that allows him to set-up up teammates for offensive chances. Brown's skating remains an area of focus and he will need to continue to become a quicker forward to find success at the professional level. Defensively his game is a work in progress.
Brown attended training camp with the Maple Leafs before being assigned to Toronto's AHL affiliate to start the 2014-15 season. Making his AHL debut as a 20-year-old, Brown has made a smooth transition from junior hockey to the pro level. He is among the scoring leaders for a team that has struggled in that area and his two-way game has been better expected from a first-year pro. Long-term Brown will be challenged to have that same type of productivity at the NHL level due to his stature and lack of elite skating ability. The success he's had in his first pro season suggests he can be an effective two-way forward one day.