The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced they have signed free agent forward J.T. Brown from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The 21-year old was the MVP of last year's Frozen Four and scored 24 goals and 47 points in 39 games for the Bulldogs this season as a sophomore. Prior to joining Minnesota-Duluth, Brown played for 2 seasons in the defensive-minded USHL, posting an impressive 34 goals and 77 points in 60 games in his final season for Waterloo. His father, Ted Brown, played 8 seasons for the NFL's Minnesota Vikings amassing 4,546 yards in rushing between 1979 and 1986 after being taken in the first round out of NC State.
The Lightning won a bidding war for Brown's services that reportedly included the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers. He is likely to spend the rest of this season with the Lightning in the NHL and he will be a strong candidate to stick with the team next season. He is lauded for his speed, grit, and shot, and was arguably the most sought after NCAA free agent remaining after University of Western Michigan junior defenseman Danny DeKeyser made the decision to stay in school.
Lightning advisor Tom Kurvers, a Minnesota-Duluth alumni, as quoted in the Duluth News Tribune:
"He plays hard both ways, heâ€™s aggressive, he has speed, moves the puck, has a scoring knack and is a clutch performer. He played his absolute best in the Frozen Four last year," said Tampa Bay senior adviser to the general manager Tom Kurvers, a former UMD All-American defenseman, who watched the Bulldogs 14 times this season. "His competitiveness is so noticeable and he has a little evil streak, which heâ€™s learned to control... Heâ€™s gotten better the last two years and his time in Duluth was well spent."