There are very few players as important to the history of the Los Angeles Kings franchise as Dustin Brown. When you’ve won multiple Stanley Cups as captain, your place in team lore is cemented.
It came as a bit of a surprise when he was stripped of the captaincy in favor of Anze Kopitar this past offseason.
It’s hard to argue with the qualifications of Kopitar for captaincy, but it was still eye raising that the guy who wore that C from 2008-2016 was demoted from that pedestal.
He accepted that decision with the type of disappointment that’s only natural for a competitor that takes so much pride in what he does.
The Kings missed the playoffs in 2015 and suffered an opening round exit in 2016, and the two underwhelming finishes after winning the Cup in 2014 seemed to prompt a change.
To Brown’s credit, he has displayed tremendous professionalism through a frustrating situation. The Kings are still very much in contention for the playoffs, and Brown is having his best season in years.
Through 53 games, he has 25 points. He hasn’t scored more than 28 points in any of his previous 3 seasons.
Whether the resurgence is due to being unburdened by the responsibilities of captaincy is impossible to determine definitively, but it’s hard to argue with results.
Brown isn’t at the level he was once at, but he still possesses a diverse repertoire. The grittiness and agitation skills are prevalent, and he possesses a good two-way game.
Brown leads the Kings in hits this season with 137. Since the 2007-2008 season, Brown has lead the Kings in hits every season but one, when he finished 2nd to Milan Lucic in 2015-2016.
Brown has ranked in the top 15 amongst the entire league in hits every year since the 2005-2006 season.
He also ranks 2nd on the team to Kopitar this season with 18 takeaways. He’s invaluable to this squad, and you truly can’t explain the history of Kings hockey without including Brown in the description.
He ranks 3rd in franchise history in games played, 4th in shots, 6th in game winning goals, 7th in power play goals, 8th in goals, 8th in points, and 10th in assists.
When winning two Cups as captain is thrown into the equation, it further establishes him as a Los Angeles legend.
How he has performed after such a rough offseason is a testament to the type of player he is. If the Kings do end up making the playoffs this season, a big reason will be because of what Brown brings to the ice game in and game out.