Dustin Brown has been with the LA Kings organization since 2003. What does a successful season look like for the 36-year-old?
Dustin Brown has seen it all during his tenure with the LA Kings. Taken with the 13th overall pick in the 2003 NHL Draft, he helped establish a veteran core that Los Angeles could build around, leading the organization to their first Stanley Cup title in 2012. They followed with another in 2014, but he’s remained steady despite the team diving back into a rebuild.
“It’s hard to do this again, but it’s a challenge,” said Brown. “There are frustrations on a game to game basis just because we’re learning. You learn how to lose before you learn how to win, and we’ve learned how to lose a lot of games this year.”
That came back in March just before the COVID-19 pandemic put a premature ending on an otherwise disappointing season. The Kings won their final seven games, largely led by some new faces, which could bode well for the upcoming season. And through it all, there was Dustin Brown.
In 66 games, he scored 17 goals with 18 assists. His 35 points were quite the drop from 51 and 61 in the two previous seasons. The primary difference, and similar to Anze Kopitar, was Brown’s production on the power play. A year ago, he scored nine goals with three assists on the man advantage. This year, one goal and four assists.
Brown logged a 50.6 Corsi-for percentage and a 46.9 expected-goals-for percentage. As previously noted on several occasions, the Kings were an excellent puck possession, but they struggled to finish. Brown is likely to begin the year on the Kings’ first line, at the right-wing.
Depending on how things play out and what prospects get promoted, Brown could shift to the left side or down to the second line as he enters the twilight of his career. Having said that, the team’s former captain will serve as a mentor in some capacity for the younger players.
Throughout his career, Brown has had up and down seasons. For example, in the 2016-2017 season, he scored 14 goals with 22 assists for 36 points. He followed that with a 28-goal, 33-assist campaign in 2017-2018. The primary reason? There was a 38-goal swing from the two seasons.
Simply put-if the Kings can finish this year, Brown’s stats will see a boost. Optimistically, I have him down for 20 goals with 22 assists. Of course, much of that also depends on how many games are scheduled in the upcoming season. Brown still has two years left on the eight-year contract extension he signed in July 2013.