The Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers have completed a trade, sending Josh Brown to Canada’s capital in exchange for a fourth-round pick in next week’s draft. Brown is a pending restricted free agent and will need to reach a new agreement with the Senators. Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion released a statement on his newest addition:
Josh Brown is a big, strong defenseman who plays a physical style of game. He’s a defensive defenseman who skates very well and who is exceptionally competitive. He’s also a very good shot blocker who clears a lot of space in front of the net. We’re looking forward to seeing him in our lineup.
Interestingly enough, you could say many of those same things in reference to veteran defenseman Mark Borowiecki who is not expected to re-sign with the Senators this offseason. Brown enters the roster as a potential replacement, but one who is considerably younger and has posted much better possession statistics over his short NHL career.
In 93 games with the Panthers over the last two seasons, Brown has posted just ten points, but was often asked to play just a few minutes of ice time. Averaging a little over 13 minutes a game, he only broke the 17-minute mark in four of his 56 contests. In Ottawa, that number will likely increase as they look to find a new mix of talent.
The Senators will watch Borowiecki and Ron Hainsey both hit the open market when free agency opens and have just four defensemen under one-way contracts. Young options like Erik Brannstrom are expected to be given a chance to secure full-time roles, but a more experienced name like Brown could find a big opportunity on the rebuilding club.
You can bet head coach D.J. Smith will give him that chance, given their history together. Brown was the captain of the Oshawa Generals back when Smith was coaching in the OHL, winning the Memorial Cup together in 2015.
For the Panthers, defense was a position that needed an overhaul after their struggles last season and new GM Bill Zito has worked quickly. Brown joins Mike Matheson on the way out and leaves the Panthers with just three players of their own on one-way contracts. Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle and Anton Stralman are an expensive trio at the top of the chart, while MacKenzie Weegar will surely get a new contract as an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent. But more changes may be coming from Zito, who obviously saw something that needed fixing and is acting quickly.