Editor's note: This article is part of an ongoing series in which Kevin Kurz will highlight a different Sharks player every day leading up to the start of training camp.
Name/Position: Mike Brown, RW
2015-16 cap hit/contract: $1.2 million, pending UFA
2014-15 year in review: There isn’t much to review here, as Mike Brown was able to play in just 12 games last season. A left hand injury in the home opener sidelined him for 22 games, while a broken bone in his left leg on Dec. 11 kept him out for another four months.
Brown returned to play in four of the last five games, and finished the season scoreless with 22 penalty minutes in 12 games.
2015-16 outlook: Considering his narrow role, Brown’s prolonged absences were not the reason the Sharks missed the playoffs last season. But, that doesn’t mean they didn’t miss his services.
Combined with the loss of Raffi Torres for the season, the Sharks often didn’t have enough bite or physicality to their game. On too many nights, the team put forth a passionless effort and ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard. That includes the fourth line, which, at the very least, should be able to provide some energy. It didn’t.
Brown may find it difficult to get into the lineup this season, though, as Pete DeBoer would prefer to play a fourth line with more skill. Ben Smith is the best bet to start out as the center on that line, and the wingers will be determined in training camp. There could be some players pushing for a spot on that line that are simply more talented offensively than Brown is.
Still, the 30-year-old agitator is a good guy to have around. He’s well liked in the dressing room and showed his dedication last season by tirelessly rehabbing for the sole purpose of getting in a few late games on a team that was going nowhere. He won’t complain if he’s not in the lineup, and when he is, he certainly isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty or stand up for his teammates. Even if he’s not a game-changer, a healthy Brown will be welcomed back onto the active roster.