Following a relatively strong rookie season, defenseman Josh Brown will look to improve his overall game in 2020. What should Florida Panthers fans expect from Brown this upcoming NHL campaign?
The 25-year-old defenseman was a former 6th round draft selection by the Florida Panthers in the 2013 NHL Entry Level Draft. After a prolonged stint in the American Hockey League, Josh Brown would finally be given an opportunity at the NHL level for the Florida Panthers during the previous season.
While participating in 37 NHL games, the bottom pairing d-man recorded one goal, one assist, 28 penalty minutes, 31 blocked shots, 80 hits, and only 17 giveaways to 12 takeaways. Essentially, despite averaging approximately 13 minutes of ice time per game, Josh Brown still played relatively well for the defensively challenged Florida Panthers throughout the course of the 2019 season.
In essence, Brown certainly impressed at the NHL level and played like a veteran defenseman, as well. The Ontario native provided stability on the blue line and was an imposing physical presence for a defense corps which was widely considered as “soft” across the National Hockey League.
Brown has displayed a fearless mentality and proved he undoubtedly belongs with the Florida Panthers for the foreseeable future. However, with the off-season addition of Anton Stralman, it appears that Josh Brown will be relegated to a depth role for the Florida Panthers during the 2020 campaign.
Essentially, Brown will compete against former 2nd round pick Ian McCoshen in training camp and preseason for the primary depth defenseman position on the roster. Objectively speaking, Brown will more than likely beat out the inconsistent McCoshen, thus becoming the 7th defenseman for the Cats and a potential replacement for Mark Pysyk.
In terms of expectations for the 2020 NHL season, Florida Panthers fans should anticipate a similar season from the consistent Josh Brown. Essentially, Brown will be a non-factor on the offensive end, but will unequivocally provide stellar defense, drop the gloves from time to time, block plenty of shots, and distribute an avalanche of hits on a game by game basis.
Also, Josh Brown will not be a liability defensively, especially since he hardly turns over the puck and plays a disciplined, yet physical style of play for an inexperienced defenseman. Nevertheless, with more experience and playing time, the inexpensive Josh Brown can potentially blossom into a phenomenal third pairing defensive defenseman for the Cats.
2020 will certainly be a test for Josh Brown, as players are generally prone to sophomore slumps at the NHL level. If Josh Brown can remain consistent and improve in various areas, particularly on the offensive side and skating wise, then he will unquestionably become a potent NHL caliber d-man for Florida.