Brown the character pick of draft
Dustin Brown doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t even chew tobacco.
He’s the type of son every parent would want — respectful, well-behaved and well-liked.
He also studies hard. Brown was the Ontario Hockey League’s Scholastic Player of the Year for the last three years in a row, a precedent, and this year, won the same award for the entire Canadian Hockey League.
He also happens to be the No. 2 overall North American skater by Central Scouting for Saturday’s NHL Entry Draft. He’s a 6-foot, 195-pound winger who scored 34 goals and 42 assists for 76 points in 58 games this year for the Guelph Storm, playing a regular shift on the first line.
The Penguins have the No. 3 pick Saturday, and Brown, 18, will almost certainly be available when they pick. Given the number of talented players in this year’s class, he could even fall to 10th or 12th place. But Guelph coach Sean Camp believes that no matter where Brown’s taken, he will find success at the NHL.
“He’ll certainly be in the NHL,” said coach Sean Camp, when asked where he sees Brown five years from now. “Being the kind of player he is, he’ll be a reliable goal scorer. Whether or not he becomes an elite scorer at that level remains to be seen, but he will have success as an offensive player.”
Although Central Scouting has Brown rated second, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus among the experts. The Red Line Report doesn’t include him among its top 10 forwards. The Hockey News had him at No. 12 in their draft preview. They also quoted one scout as saying Brown “thinks he’s playing football” and that his hockey sense may not be developed.
In such a deep draft class with its share of flashy, commanding players, Brown could simply get lost in the shuffle. He’s quiet and does the little things on the ice well without drawing much attention to himself. But it’s that quiet dedication and determination that Camp believes helps set Brown among the top prospects in this year’s draft.
“He’s really developed by learning to do the little things like protecting the puck when he has it, not giving it up when he’s being checked or challenged along the boards, having good body position when he doesn’t have the puck, things like that,” Camp said. “In his own zone he’s very reliable. And he’s also learned that as he’s become a more senior player that every night he may be called on to score or be physical. He’s embraced that leadership role. He’s not a big mouth in the room, not the center of the attention. He just always acts like one of the guys.”
Karen Price is a former freelancer.