As noted previously, the Los Angeles Kings have played in more games than any other team since 2012. A whopping 276. That’s a LOT of games. Probably too many games for any one team to play over 3 years to continue as a success.
The off-season is here and the energy for training camp and the pre-season are amping up all around NHL locker rooms. And you know who probably has energy flowing through the roof?
Many of us know Dustin Brown’s reputation. Hard hitter (remember when he smashed Henrik Sedin?). Power forward. Soft-spoken captain. Leader. Team guy. Productive.
Wait, hold that last one. All those other ones are true. But last year might make us erase that last descriptor. Because, statistically, Brown wasn’t all that productive last season. The 30 year old who signed a fat contract extension in 2013 had his worst season since joining the league as a full-timer in 2004. He put up a career low in goals (11) and tied his career low in points (27). And his + / – rating was the worst it’s been since 2007. And he once was atop the league in Hits, but dove down to #14.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Brownie. Brown is one of the pillars that has held the foundation of the Los Angeles Kings team culture. They’ve built this successful team around Brown and his influence. He’s still one of my favorite players on the team. He adds so many intangibles that most of us will never know about or see. But I wonder if those intangibles make him worth his cap hit of $5.875 million per year?Dec 29, 2014; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown (23) reaches for the puck against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Maybe this extended off-season will be exactly what he needs to re-capture old Dustin Brown fashion. Having some extra time to rest and recover could get him back to being that 20 or 30 goal scorer we know from the past. Or maybe the Kings bringing in someone to compete for his spot on the team in Milan Lucic will inspire an even higher compete level in Brownie.
Brown doesn’t want to be a 3rd line winger. We know he’s got more to bring to the table than that. It’s Brownie. We just know he’s got way more left in him than it has seemed over the past few seasons.
Here’s to a productive, refreshing year for our Captain. We got your back, Brownie.