Feb.1, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Aaron Johnson (5) gets called for cross checking on Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown (23) near the end of the third period of the game at the Staples Center. Kings won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Beyond the ‘C’: The Story of Dustin Brown


June 14 , 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown (23) talks to the fans during the Stanley Cup victory rally inside Staples Center. The rally was held after the victory parade. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

 

AGE

27

HEIGHT

6’

WEIGHT

204 lbs.

POSITION

Right Wing

DRAFTED

13th   Overall in 2003

 

Dustin Brown is known for one big accomplishment in the NHL. He won the Stanley Cup, becoming the second American-born captain in league history to win. He also led his 8th seeded team to the Finals and won, the lowest seeded team to win the Stanley Cup. He led the first team to defeat the 1st seed (Vancouver), 2nd seed (St. Louis), and the 3rd seed (Phoenix) in a row as the 8th seed. He is definitely going to be known now, but no one outside of California had really known about him, and I’m going to tell you why. This is Beyond the ‘C’: The story of Dustin Brown.

Dustin Brown is a New Yorker, hailing from Ithaca. He was picked up out of high school hockey to play for the Guelph Storm, where he scored 194 points in a total of 173 games in 3 seasons. That’s good right? Yes. So the Kings picked him up 13th overall in the 2003 draft. That sent him into a fantasy land.

Brown had only ever seen the fourth line his entire rookie season, only scoring 5 points in 31 games. Not so good. The next season, there was a lockout, so he was sent to the AHL affiliate of the Kings, the Manchester Monarchs. He averaged nearly a point per game, scoring 74 points in 79 games. He was brought back to the Kings at the start of the next season. He scored 28 points in 79 games, coming in strong as a checking power forward. This led to a two-year contract extension after the 2006-07 season. His third season as a King put him on the front line with rookie star Anze Kopitar. Combining Brown’s hitting skills and his willingness to shoot with Kopitar’s passing and puck possession was like peanut butter and jelly, they meshed very well.

Here is why I don’t think he is known very well. At the start of the 2007-2008 season, he signed a 6 year contract extension lasting through the 2014-15 season. It only earned him $19.05 million. That is a little more than $3 million a year. It’s definitely not a contract fit for, oh let’s see, a KING! I think that is definitely underpayment for skill if I’ve ever seen one. Not to mention he was playing in Los Angeles, which hadn’t seen much star power on the ice after Wayne Gretzky.

Dustin was named the 15th captain of the Los Angeles Kings on October 8th, 2008. He was only 23 when he became captain of the team, the youngest and first American captain of the Kings. During the 2009-10 season, the Kings had busted a franchise-worst 6 year playoff drought, where they hadn’t been in the playoffs for 6 years. They lost in the first round to the Vancouver Canucks. The next post-season, they were awarded the 7th seed and played the San Jose Sharks and they lost in 6 games.

But the 2011-12 season was much better for the kings and they just barely made the playoffs under a new coach. They were seeded 8th  and would have to claw their way from the bottom of the barrel and beat some of the best teams in the league. They swept last years Western Conference champion, the Canucks, in 4 games. Then the St. Louis Blues in 5 games, then the Phoenix Coyotes in 5 games and then finally on to the New Jersey Devils whom they defeated in 6 games to become Stanley Cup Champions. I didn’t mention this in my opener, but the Kings are the only team to go undefeated on the road in the conference rounds. The only road game they lost was game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Not too shabby.

Closing Argument:

I never knew who Dustin Brown was until this past post-season. He wasn’t a big name that was thrown around every night on NHL Tonight. And he especially wasn’t mentioned on SportsCenter (but no one really is outside of Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin). But, all in all, he did a great job, being the underdog and winning the Stanley Cup. He led his team night in and night out by contributing points and physical play. I think he totally deserved it and so did the players on his squad. He is a verbal leader in the locker room and it surely paid off. It had to of, or else he wouldn’t have just hoisted the Stanley Cup.

Tags: Anze Kopitar Dustin Brown FanSided Los Angeles Kings NHL Stanley Cup