Dustin Brown enjoyed a bounceback season with the LA Kings. We review the good, the bad, and what’s next for the 36-year-old.
With two years remaining on his contract, Dustin Brown entered the 2021 season as one of the five players left from the Stanley Cup teams in 2012 and 2014. Now 36 years of age, the former LA Kings captain looked like father time had finally caught up with him in the 19-20 season, scoring 17 goals and 18 assists.
Brown survived the NHL’s trade deadline, despite the rumors that others teams may be interested in acquiring the veteran winger. For now, the former 13th overall pick in 2003 appears to be penciled in on the Kings’ top line entering the 2021-2022 season.
Of course, depending on the offseason moves, that could all change.
Dustin Brown nearly matched his point total from the 19-20 season in 15 fewer games. He was outstanding on the powerplay, tallying nine goals and leading the team in that department. His nine goals on the man advantage matched previous totals set in 18-19, 17-18, and 11-12.
While the Kings, collectively, were not great as a puck possession team, Brown accounted for a 52.4 CorsiFor percentage, his best mark since the 17-18 campaign.
He led the team with 17 goals and finished fifth with 14 assists while also registering the team’s third-highest shot percentage (13.2%) for players who played in at least ten games. Speaking of production, Brown was the only LA Kings player to register an expected-goals-for percentage greater than 50% — 51.2 xGF% to be exact, nearly matching his actual production (51.0%).
League-wide, Brown’s nine powerplay goals were tied for fifth-most in the NHL in good company with players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen.
It’s difficult to pick on a player that led his team in goals, especially at 36 years of age. I guess if there’s anything to note, Brown didn’t produce much after the NHL trade deadline. Several players indicated in their exit interviews that the team truly went south once Jeff Carter was dealt to Pittsburgh.
Brown scored just three goals over the final 17 games after recording 11 in the first 20. His shot percentage significantly decreased after the first two months of the season — 20.0% and 26.7% in January and February to 6.4% and 9.7% in March and April.
He no longer wears the “C” on his sweater, but Brown has taken it in stride and continues to be a valuable leader for this LA Kings team in transition. As noted, he’ll be entering the final year of his eight-year contract extension signed in July 2013.
Brown was left unprotected for Vegas’ expansion draft. There’s a good chance he’ll be left exposed again for Seattle, but the Kraken may not take the bait with just one year of team control.
So that likely keeps him rostered for Opening Night of the 2021-2022 season.
Two things to note. If Brown leads the Kings in goals again next year, the team probably isn’t doing very well. And if they are sellers at the deadline, again, I would expect Brown to be moved to a contender while the Kings get something in return before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.