Connor Brown
Photo credit: Matt Slocum

In the playoff lineup, the Oilers make a puzzling decision with Connor

Published April 27, 2024 at 7:41

The Edmonton Oilers' handling of Connor Brown this season has been a source of considerable debate among fans and analysts alike.

Despite his underwhelming performance during the regular season, Brown's situation reveals much about the team's strategy and the precarious nature of professional sports contracts.

Connor Brown, whose season with the Oilers has been less than stellar, found himself sidelined as the playoffs approached. Coach Knoblauch, who had consistently defended Brown's contributions throughout the season, seems to have made a pivotal shift in strategy.

Despite an annual salary bonus of $3.225M triggered after just ten games—a clear indication that the Oilers were hedging their bets—Brown's offensive output didn't align with expectations. Scoring a mere 4 goals in 71 games, he fell short of justifying his hefty contract.

This situation took an ironic turn towards the season's end. After a year marked by lackluster performances, Brown began to show signs of improvement, playing what many considered his best hockey just as the regular season closed. Yet, this surge in performance came too late.

Dylan Holloway, a rising rookie, has since taken Brown's place, bringing a new dynamism to the team's playoff lineup.

The decision not to cut Brown earlier in the season, despite clear signs that the contract might not pan out, suggests a resigned acceptance by the Oilers' management that the financial investment was already sunk. This choice to stick with Brown arguably led to a less optimal lineup, impacting the team's overall performance.

Looking ahead, even if Brown doesn't crack the main lineup, he remains a viable depth option—a costly but potentially necessary backup during the high-stakes playoff games.

This saga underscores the complexity of player management in professional sports, where contractual obligations and real-time performance often clash, leaving coaches and management to navigate the choppy waters of athlete deployment and team strategy.
April 27   |   402 answers
In the playoff lineup, the Oilers make a puzzling decision with Connor

Do you think Connor Brown should be included in the Oilers playoff lineup?

Yes, he should be in16340.5 %
No, he's not good enough13333.1 %
Why did we play him all year anyway?6315.7 %
See Results4310.7 %
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