Remember back in February, just prior to the NHL trade deadline, when the Los Angeles Kings were in jeopardy of not even being in contention for the postseason, and Kings fans were clamoring for a big deadline deal to shake things up, and that things looked so bleak and the team was so desperate that they were reportedly willing to deal captain Dustin Brown if it meant landing a guy like Rick Nash in return?
Yeah, well, luckily for Kings fans, GM Dean Lombardi showed some mettle and restraint in not pressing the panic button in dealing away his captain. Since then, Brown has proven his worth. In his final 23 games of the regular season, Brown amassed 9 goals and 16 assists, looking like a different player than the guy who scored 13 goals and 16 assists in the Kings’ first 59 games.
His scoring prowess has only excelled in the postseason. As the finals begin, Brown ranks third in playoff points (16), shares second place in goals (7) and is tied for first in game-winning goals (3), short-handed goals (2) and plus-minus differential (plus-13).
And not only is Brown leading his team offensively, but he’s finally getting around to proving all of his critics wrong who believed that he was too young and too quiet to be an effective NHL captain.
“He’s a rare power forward who can play on a top line at all times,” said Anze Kopitar. “You know he’s going to bring the effort. You know he’s going to hit people. When he does that, he gets into open areas and creates space for himself. That’s where the chances come from.”
And when Brown isn’t creating scoring chances, he’s throwing thunderous checks or contributing in other areas.
“I don’t think he’s had a bad game,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said.