Connor Brown named among Top 10 biggest disappointments of 2023-24

The Athletic has selected their biggest letdowns of the 2023-24 NHL season and it should come as no surprise to Oilers fans that Connor Brown has made the list.
Edmonton Oilers v Seattle Kraken
Edmonton Oilers v Seattle Kraken / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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Most Edmonton Oilers fans would agree that Connor Brown has been an unmitigated disaster this season. Whatever you had predicted as the poorest possible outcome for him in 2023-24, he's been even worse.

Brown is on course to spectacularly set a new personal low for poorest production in a season when he has been a regular in the lineup. He has played in 54 of the Oilers' 63 games at the time of posting, and has managed a meagre total of just five points, which have all been assists.

The 30-year-old's worst season to date as a regular, is the 2017-18 season, when he had just 28 total points in 82 games. His -9 rating is worst on the Oilers this season and his average ice time of 12:59 is projected to be the lowest of his NHL career.

No love for Brown from The Athletic

With this all said, it should come as no surprise that The Athletic (subscription required) has named Brown as one of their top 10 biggest disappointments for the 2023-24 NHL season. Harman Dayal hasn't ranked them in any particular order, but we would (un)happily place him at number one.

In fairness, like a lot of people, Dayal accepts that when the deal for the winger was originally agreed, it seemed to be a smart move. In addition, he does acknowledge a player who still offers defensive value, particularly on the penalty kill.

Where it really falls apart though, is Brown's offensive production, or lack thereof. Not even Nostradamus could have predicted just how poor he would be at the offensive end of the ice.

This is even more inexplicable, when considering the former Toronto Maple Leaf started off this season in the top six, getting plenty of playing time alongside his former Erie Otters teamate, Connor McDavid. If there's ever someone to help you perform and even exceed what you're theoretically capable of, it's the best player in the game. (See Zach Hyman.)

A poor deal with hindsight

Instead, Brown struggled and as the season progressed, he was moved down to the bottom six and periodically sat. However, where the Oilers really did themselves over in hindsight, was the contract they agreed with him.

The basic cap hit for the Etobicoke, Ontario native this season is $775,000. After reaching 10 games played however, he became entitled to a bonus of $3.225 million, all of which will count against the Oilers' salary cap for next season.

In respect of the performance incentive, this alluded to Brown suffering an ACL injury just four games into last season, while he was with the Washington Capitals. it required surgery, which ultimately ended his season.

Given how the 2012 sixth round draft pick has performed this season, it does raise the question of if he has just never fully recovered from his injury and surgery? It would certainly -- at least -- partly explain why a perennial 30-40 point player has been so bad this season.

dark. Next. TSN off the mark with take on McDavid and Art Ross Trophy. TSN off the mark with take on McDavid and Art Ross Trophy

In any event, it seems safe to predict it will be a case of one-and-done in Edmonton. Barring an unlikely renaissance to finish the regular season/in the playoffs, there's just no justification whatsoever for the Oilers to re-sign Brown for the 2024-25 campaign.

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