Every year at Development Camp, under-the-radar players vie for the attention of their organization’s coaching staff, hoping to leave a good impression. For Patrick Brown, that impression may lead to a roster spot.
Brown, a 22 year-old undrafted center, spent four years at Boston College, where he captured two Hockey East titles and an NCAA National Championship. His numbers steadily grew throughout his four years, culminating in a breakout offensive campaign his senior season, something Brown credits to the program at BC.
“Boston College was incredible and there was an unbelievable coaching staff that allowed me to develop over four years there,” said Brown. “I didn’t come in as the strongest player or top-line player, but the coaching and hard work that surrounds that program allowed me to improve.”
Brown’s impressive senior season, which saw him amass 30 points (15g, 15a), more than double the total of his first three years, caught the attention of Darren Yorke, Assistant to the General Manager/Video Scout for the Hurricanes, who sees it as a testament to Brown’s work ethic.
“Every year he got better. He had an unbelievable year where he added more offense to his game and he’s a kid that just works unbelievably hard. He doesn’t take any shifts off,” praised Yorke, adding that “He’s been really impressive in this camp. He’s been a leader in the fitness testing. He just doesn’t know how to stop working.”
The Michigan native has had a slight taste of the AHL life, as he joined the Checkers for their final weekend of last season, something that helped Brown get acclimated.
“The experience was great and I got to meet the guys and the coaching staff and get settled in and see what the AHL was like,” said Brown, who roomed with his former Boston College teammate John Muse for the weekend, a situation that Brown enjoyed. “It was really good to seeing him again. He’s a great kid and I look forward to playing with him again.”
The professional life won’t be anything new for Brown, who watched his father, Doug Brown, spend 14 years in the NHL. His pedigree is something that could be an advantage for him over other rookies turning pro, according to Yorke.
“It never hurts to grow up around the game because you get that understanding of what it takes to be a pro,” said Yorke. “That’s a big thing with kids in these camps is learning how to be a professional and he sort of has a leg up when you’re able to grow up in the game.”
Brown’s offensive production will need to continue to grow for him to establish himself among the other rookies heading into the season and try to earn his way into a roster spot, but his performance at Development Camp seems to have left quite the impression on many that were present, including one of the most important attendees, Carolina head coach Bill Peters.
- Written by Nicholas Niedzielski