Let’s think back to June 21, 2003. All of the NHL’s brass are gathered in what is now the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. In the stands sit a fresh young group of ripe talent waiting to be picked. In the crowd you have Marc-Andre Fleury, Ryan Suter, Dion Phaneuf and many more baby-faced NHL talent.
Somewhere, mixed in the crowd sits a young Dustin Brown. Then 12 picks into the Draft the Los Angeles Kings selected Brown with the 13th overall selection of the Draft.
Now fast forward to today. Brown has won the Stanley Cup, won a silver medal at the 201o Winter Olympic Games, won the NHL Foundation award, has been selected as an NHL All-Star and is fresh off of a brand new eight-year $47-million contract extension.
Combined with the last year on his current contract, Brown will now be a apart of the Kings organization through the 2021-2022 season, which could very well be the rest of Brown’s career. Brown has said he has been a King since coming into the NHL and he wants to retire a member of the Kings, with this contract that could very possibly become the case.
In his nine seasons with the Kings, Brown has 181 goals and 338 points in 641 games played. However, Brown’s play has really excelled in
the playoffs where he has 31 points in 50 games, which includes the Kings’ 2012 Stanley Cup run where he recorded 20 points in 20 games.
Now, Brown has nine more seasons to add to those totals and possibly add to the hardware that he and the Kings have won during his time in Los Angeles.
Above all else, looking past the Cup and his stats the important thing is that Brown will be the leader of the Kings for a long time, a leader that can only benefit the Kings organization.
Brown has developed into a leader over his time with the Kings and was ultimately named captain of the team on October 8, 2008, after just four seasons with the team.
Since Brown has been with the Kings since day one of his career, the Kings’ staff and fans have been able to witness this growth first hand.
Kings General Manager, Dean Lombardi commented on Brown’s growth.
“It’s pretty amazing, seven years ago, he couldn’t say two words because he was so shy and now he’s doing his own contract and setting himself up for life,” Lombardi said. “I don’t think he’s done in terms of growth and he’s told me so. The fact he was looking out for the team during these negotiations tells me a lot about his growth, but he also stressed his desire to be even better.”
More growth can only mean good things for the Kings. Brown has already accomplished so much during his time with the Kings, if there is still room for improvement who knows what he could help the Kings achieve.
With this extension Brown is now the center piece of a group of players that includes Jonathan Quick, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards Slava Voynov and Anze Kopitar that are all locked up in Los Angeles for the immediate future.
Who better to lead that group than Brown?
Brown leads by example. When he is not scoring goals he is dishing out bone crushing hits. When his team is struggling he takes the responsibility and addresses the problem when talking to the media. When things get testy about his play he does not go and make a big deal about it, but performs on the ice in order to answer his critics. He is the definition of a leader.
We are lucky to have him leading the Kings and this franchise for another nine seasons.