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2015-16 Canadiens season review: Mike Brown

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Mike Brown played hockey for the Montreal Canadiens this season.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Brown was a waiver-wire addition to the Montreal Canadiens on trade deadline day. At the time, it seemed that the pick-up of the San Jose Sharks cast-off was a temporary solution to ensure a full forward complement for that night's game in San Jose; a theory that appeared to be validated by the late-day trade of Devante Smith-Pelly.

It soon became clear that that was not the only reason for his acquisition, and instead Brown was the Habs' designated tough guy for the final few weeks of the season.

His role in the NHL is becoming extinct. Most teams no longer employ a player whose sole role is to fight the other team's fighter. There are almost no players like that remaining in the NHL, as teams have decided that fourth lines are better saved for players who can start in the defensive zone and play on the penalty kill.

Aside from his role, Brown is not a very good hockey player. While he might be slightly better than other tough guys, he is still significantly worse than younger, more skilled players; like Lucas Lessio who found himself on the sidelines to make room for the veteran forward.

There was a stretch of games where Brown was playing on the first line with Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty. There was no reason for him to play in this position outside of the incorrect thinking that an enforcer prevents injury by their mere presence on the ice. Instead, it put Galchenyuk and Pacioretty in a difficult position because they were being matched against top players and had to carry a player who was way out of his depth.

In all, Brown is a deficit to a system that is ripe with bad possession hockey. He is a weak fourth-line player on a team that had too many fourth-liners before he was brought on. He is redundant in every sense of the word, and it is interesting that Therrien decided to play him a lot more than his skill level should have warranted.

That does not mean that Brown did not have his moments with the Habs this season. He did have a goal and an assist in a game against the Anaheim Ducks, a performance that garnered him first-star honours.

This one good game is not indicative of his talent, but it was his one shining moment in which he used his hands for a productive purpose.

Whether it earns him an extension for next season or not, Brown was a player who played the role asked of him by the team's coaching staff. It's hard to criticize the player for that.