NHL Draft recap

The NHL Draft was this weekend, and featured a player with local ties going in the top half of the first round.

Logan Brown, who resided in Central Indiana and was both drafted by and was an affiliate player for the Indiana Ice in 2013-14, was chosen 11th overall by the Ottawa Senators. The Sens traded up a spot to secure the ability to choose his rights.

Brown played for the Indiana Junior Ice while his father, Jeff Brown, coached the USHL’s Ice to a Clark Cup in 2013-14. Even then, his size – 6-foot-4 as a 15-year-old, two inches taller now – and skill was evident as a center. In the Ice’s 2013 development camp, he was one of the top players at the rink. He has played the last two years for the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey League.

It’s a bit of a hometown team for Logan. Jeff Brown hails from Ottawa and, when the Ice went into suspension in 2014, moved back to his hometown to coach the OHL’s Ottawa 67s. Logan grew up in St. Louis – and is one of five players raised in the Midwestern city to be chosen in the first round.

Brown had 74 points in 59 games for the Spitfires this year.

With the Ice two years removed from having played their last game, this was the first draft in many years where there were no former Ice players selected, as they would’ve had to have been 15 or 16 years old to have played for the team in 2013-14. There was another familial connection. Another St. Louis-based first-rounder – Luke Kunin – was chosen 15th overall by the Minnesota Wild. Luke’s brother Nick played one game for the Ice in 2013-14, when he was called up from the affiliate list to play against Luke’s USNTDP team the year. The two brothers lined up against each other for the opening face-off that night.

Indy Fuel fans obviously keep an eye on the Chicago Blackhawks’ choices, and the team came away from the weekend with nine new players, most notably 5-foot-7 Alex DeBrincat, who scored 51 goals in the OHL this season, but dropped into the second round partly due to concerns about his size. The Blackhawks also took Boston University defenseman Chad Krys and Russian winger Artur Kayumov in the second round. The Blackhawks took three more European players, two college defensemen and another Canadian Major Junior player in the later rounds.

The team maintains the rights to the college players until August after their senior years are complete – which can be up to four years for an incoming freshman. The Major Junior players can only play professionally in the NHL until the conclusion of their 20-year-old season (or they can play in the minor pro ranks once their major junior seasons are over), which is two years away for most draftees. For those playing in Europe, the NHL team has a four-year window to sign that player and bring him to the North American professional ranks.

It will likely be at least two years before these choices begin to matriculate onto either the Indy Fuel or Rockford IceHogs rosters. NHL teams prefer to allow their college/European prospects to matriculate as long as possible in college or in Europe, so they do not count against the limit of 50 players under contract.

Later this week, IndyPuck.com will look at some of the players in the Blackhawks’ system and when they might matriculate to the pros.

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