The Edmonton Oilers have rolled the dice on winger Connor Brown, who's coming off an ACL injury that caused him to miss 78 games in 2022-23.
Brown will earn $775K on a one-year deal with Edmonton, but his contract allows him to snag up to $3.25 million in bonuses depending how he performs.
The structure appears to be a win-win for both sides. The 29-year-old winger has the ability to earn a salary that most teams would've been reluctant to pay him if he produces, while an Oilers team with a tight budget wouldn't have to worry about most of that money until 2024-25 — when the cap projects to be $4 million higher.
Following the move, Edmonton has $5.62 million in cap room.
Although Brown's 2022-23 was a lost season, his three-run run with the Ottawa Senators prior to his injury was impressive. In those seasons Brown produced 117 points in 191 games and averaged 19:33 per night — logging significant time on all special teams. During those three seasons, he ranked 29th among all NHL forwards in ice time.
The Oilers will undoubtedly value the versatility that Brown brings.
Over the course of his career, he's shown the ability to perform in a top-line role using his tenacity and forechecking to augment the production of elite players. He's also effectively dropped down the lineup and thrived in checking roles.
For an Oilers team that is always looking for forwards to help get the most of their dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, Brown looks like an excellent fit. It's also worth noting that Brown was an OHL teammate of McDavid's in 2012-13 and 2013-14 with the Erie Otters.
If he's healthy and effective in 2023-24, the veteran forward may get a chance to skate alongside McDavid once again.