With Anders Lee on LTIR, the Islanders are sure to make a move before the deadline. Could LA Kings Dustin Brown be a target?
After falling in the Eastern Conference Finals to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions last season, the New York Islanders find themselves among the best teams again in 2021. However, with forward Anders Lee recently landing on the LTIR with a torn ACL, general manager Lou Lamoriello will certainly make a move before the April 12 deadline. Could the LA Kings get involved?
According to Elliotte Friedman, the Isles might have some interest in acquiring the services of former LA Kings captain Dustin Brown.
"Lou Lamoriello stealth watch: Dustin Brown. You know the Islanders GM wants to find someone no one has thought of. He’s a righty (injured captain Anders Lee is a lefty), but there are a lot of similarities. Goes to the front of the net, power-play threat. Holes in my theory: The Kings are playing meaningful games, and would they even want to move him? (Brown is originally from New York, although he’s incredibly attached to California.) – Elliotte Friedman/Sportsnet"
A couple of immediate challenges for the Islanders. Brown is 36 years old and comes at a $5.9M cap hit this year and next. He hasn’t played like a 36-year-old in 2021, though, tallying 14 goals, including eight on the man advantage, to go along with six assists.
It’s hard to envision Brown in any other uniform, drafted by the Kings with the 13th overall pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. The two-time Stanley Cup winner would give the Isles a solid replacement on the Islanders’ top-six forwards, and he’s shown the ability to play both winger positions throughout his career.
Of course, if you’re Rob Blake, you’re probably looking at eating half of Brown’s contract. Speaking with our friends over at Eyes on Isles and understanding the Kings’ desire for a young defenseman, a package of a 2021 second-round pick and either D man Parker Wotherspoon or Christian Krygier in return makes sense.
Given that Krygier is more of a stay-at-home defenseman — one goal and seven assists in 94 games for Michigan State over the last three years — the Kings would likely prefer someone with a little more offense. Wotherspoon is 23 and could fit the bill of the left-shot defenseman Blake noted a few weeks ago. However, he has yet to make his NHL debut, playing the last three seasons with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL.
With how stacked the Isles’ defense has been over the last couple of years, playing time at the NHL level has proven to be a challenge for several defensive prospects, including Wotherspoon.
He is with the Tigers this season as well and has one assist through the first ten games. Over a much larger sample size, Wotherspoon scored four goals with 23 assists in 62 games last year and six goals with 17 assists the year before that. It’s difficult to surmise if his offensive skills will translate to the NHL level, though.
The Surrey, BC native is also under contract through the 2021-2022 season before becoming a restricted free agent.
For what it’s worth, the draft pick in this particular package would give the LA Kings three picks in the second round of the 2021 NHL Draft, where they could continue to bolster the blueline or package them to move up in the draft for a better player.
Dustin Brown has been so important to the Kings franchise over the last 18 years. If it’s looking like the Kings may not make the playoffs for the third consecutive season, they might have to seriously consider trading Brown to a Cup contender.