Dale Tallon and the Florida Panthers announced on April 9th that the team had come to terms with 2013 draft pick Josh Brown, in the form of a 3-year, entry-level contract. For some Panthers fans this likely led to a "Josh who?" Not to worry, allow us to introduce you to this big, young defenseman.
Brown has flown a bit under the radar among Florida's prospects, as he is not a flashy, offensive player. Nor is he one of the "marquee" draft picks the team has trumpeted over the last several years, such as Quinton Howden, Rocco Grimaldi, or fellow defensive prospects Ian McCoshen and Michael Matheson. Yet, while he is certainly unheralded, Brown is a very solid prospect the team is excited to have entering the fold. For the time being, however, Brown will continue his season with the OHL's Oshawa Generals, as they move into the second round of the OHL playoffs.
You can get to know our newest professional defenseman a bit better here:
The Panthers selected Josh with the 152nd overall pick in the 6th round of the NHL draft in 2013. Since that time he has put up 53 points in 230 OHL games, and also gone an incredible plus-64, with 303 penalty minutes. Obviously, he is not built in the mold of a Brian Campbell or Aaron Ekblad. But, if you are familiar with San Antonio Rampage defenseman, and Panthers prospect Jonathan Racine, than you are aware of the type of game Brown plays. At 6'5, 213 lbs., he is a big defenseman who is known for a punishing, physical brand of play. He is the epitome of a stay-at-home, "shutdown" defender. He can also throw the mitts:
Brown is known as a quiet leader, who is in his second season as captain of the Generals. He shoots right-handed, something the Panthers are greatly in need of. Looking at the team's young defensemen, both Erik Gudbranson and Ekblad shoot right-handed (as does Steven Kampfer). However, moving into the prospect ranks, only Alex Petrovic, Mackenzie Weegar, and Jesse Blacker play right-handed. Matheson, McCoshen, Racine, Dylan Olsen, Michael Downing, and Ed Wittchow all play left-handed.
Of particular note is that the Panthers were very impressed with Brown at last summer's prospect camp, and entertained notions of signing him at that time. It was likely only the signing of Shane O'Brien that returned Brown for this overage season he is wrapping up in the OHL. Defensemen tend to develop more slowly than forwards, and it is likely that the Cats will allow Brown to come along at a pace similar to fellow shutdown defender, Racine (who has played 127 AHL games). There is no rush to get Josh into the NHL, as Ekblad, Gudbranson, and Petrovic look to have the right side locked up for years to come, but Brown will get every opportunity to show whether he can be a future punishing, intimidating, shutdown blueliner for the Cats. At a minimum, a team can never have enough defensemen in the pipeline, whether for its top-6, injury-fill-ins, or trade bait.
A warm LBC welcome to Josh Brown, and best of luck in the OHL playoffs!