March 30, 2015
TORONTO– Connor Brown has jumped to the top of his class.
Brown scored once and assisted on three more goals Sunday as the Marlies beat the Rochester Americans 4-3.
His four-point outing, the first of his pro career, now has him atop the AHL rooking scoring lead with 18 goals and 55 points in 66 games.
The 21-year-old Toronto native has been amongst the league’s top three in rookie production all season and has been Toronto’s most reliant player for the majority of the year regardless of his age.
Prior to Sunday’s offensive outburst, Brown had been held off the score sheet for four straight games— the longest drought of the season after never going more than two games without picking up a point.
“When he’s used to getting points every night I guess four games is a slump,” joked Marlies assistant coach Derek King.
Sunday’s contest offered a glimpse into the future of what Toronto has for prospects and what they could offer the organization down the road.
Head coach Gord Dineen resurrected the “kid line” of Brown, William Nylander and Ryan Rupert and they combined for three goals and seven points.
“We threw the kid line back together and they created a lot. They were good in their own end and that created a lot of offence for them,” said King
“If they keep playing like that there’s no reason they aren’t maybe playing some NHL games next year.
Nylander’s goal, the prettiest of the bunch, came off a nice feed from Brown. After receiving the puck from his linemate, the 18-year-old Nylander went high glove side from in close.
“I was driving the lane and I got a sick dish from Brown, picked it up and roofed it,” said Nylander.
“I think he might have closed his eyes on that one…I gave it to him a bit late, he got it up in a hurry. It’s a skilled play,” added Brown.
Brown currently holds a two-point edge on Hamilton Bulldogs forward Charles Hudon for rookie scoring. The Marlies have 10 games remaining in their regular season while the Bulldogs have eight.
Both players were drafted in 2012, with the Montreal Canadiens taking Hudon 122nd and Toronto selecting Brown 156th overall.