Kate Penna/Flickr. Used with permission.
It may be safe to call Philadelphia Flyers prospect Tyler Brown a bit of a late bloomer. The 22-year-old went undrafted through his late teens, but despite it was able to work his way onto the roster of the OHL's Plymouth Whalers at the start of the 2007 season.
In that first year of Major Junior, Brown played 38 games with the Whalers, scoring just a goal and five assists. He began to break out as a scoring threat as he grew into a more well-rounded OHL player, however, scoring 21 points in 49 games during the 08/09 season, 39 points in 66 games in the 09/10 season and 57 points in 67 games during the 10/11 season.
His growth into a legitimate OHL scoring threat -- ranked third on his team in 10/11 -- was apparently good enough for Paul Holmgren, who signed him to an entry-level deal during the late stages of that final junior season. Perhaps the NHL deal propelled his confidence a bit, as he wrapped up his Whalers career with a team-best 14 points in 11 playoff games that spring.
Last season with the Phantoms was Brown's first as a professional player, and while he didn't exactly meet expectations based on his OHL production, he must have impressed somebody in the organization -- be it Holmgren or John Paddock or Chris Pryor -- as he was one of nine Black Aces called up during the Flyers' playoff run in 2012.
Brown was held out for most of rookie camp this summer thanks to an injury, but much like No. 24 Blake Kessel and other players entering their second pro seasons, the coming year with the Phantoms is an important one for Brown.
The lockout could either hurt him or help him: Will he lose extra ice time to a more established player who's been displaced by the NHL, or will he step up and earn his keep against the influx of quality talent in the AHL?
Let's see how our panel voted for Brown.
Votes for Tyler Brown:
- Frank Seravalli at No. 25 (one point)
- Travis Hughes at No. 25 (one point)
- Marcello De Feo at No. 22 (four points)
- Anthony SanFilippo at No. 16 (10 points)
- Dustin Leed at No. 14 (12 points)
How the panel voted at No. 23:
- Geoff Detweiler: Matt Mangene
- Travis Hughes: Matthew Konan
- Eric T.: Brandon Manning
- Frank Seravalli: Marcel Noebels
- Marcello De Feo: Tye McGinn
- Dustin Leed: Niko Hovinen
- Bill Meltzer: Taylor Leier
- Anthony SanFilippo: Valeri Vasiliev
- OrangeNblacK: Fredrik Larsson
Votes so far. Players earn one point for a 25th place vote, two points for a 24th place vote, etc.