Although he is past his prime at this point and has settled into a bottom-six role with the LA Kings, it’s hard to forget about all that Dustin Brown has done for this franchise, and he hopes to continue doing so past this season.
“I didn’t get the impression [Brown is] going anywhere. I think he’s going to retire a King and his number retired there too,” Elliotte Friedman said on his 32 Thoughts podcast. “But [Rob] Blake said he’s happy with him as the third-liner on Byfield’s wing to help him out, and we’ll see. His contract is up this summer, right? So I think they just want to have a conversation on where he thinks Brown’s head is. I don’t think they’re rushing to trade him or anything like that.”
Brown and Blake did meet over the All-Star break.
“Brown has been pretty vocal about not wanting to go anywhere. I think the [New York] Islanders last year poked around at him. I’ve got to think everyone [in Los Angeles] is looking that if they can, Dustin Brown retires as an LA King.”
"Dustin Brown has been pretty vocal about not wanting to go anywhere, I think the Islanders last year poked around at him. I gotta think everyone [in LA] is looking that if they can, Dustin Brown retires as an LA Kings," – Elliotte Friedman on Brown's future.#GoKingsGo
— Panagiotis Mavridis (@MavridisNHL) February 6, 2022
No matter how you feel about Brown’s spot in the lineup nowadays, there is no doubt that he deserves to retire as a King. He ranks first in franchise history in games played with 1,276, 100 ahead of Anze Kopitar.
The 37-year-old is also sixth in goals, seventh in points, seventh in goals created, and ninth in assists. He’s tied with Wayne Gretzky for sixth-most hat-tricks in franchise history.
This season, Brown has six goals and 20 points through 44 games. He holds a 1.60 goals above replacement and is analytically a positive in the offensive zone at both even-strength and on the power play. He is slightly below replacement level defensively, but not to the point where he is a liability when playing in his own end.
The Ithaca, NY native has been a King since he was selected with the 13th overall pick back in 2003 and is the longest-tenured active Kings skater. He captained the team to their first two Stanley Cup championships in franchise history and became just the second American captain in the history of the league to hoist the Cup (after Derian Hatcher).
Brown won the Mark Messier leadership award during the 2013-14 campaign. In 2011, he received the NHL foundation player award for his charity work in the Los Angeles area. He’s an amazing person, and it’s obvious the organization loves him, both as a player and as a human being.
His age and expiring contract makes you wonder if his playing career is set to end after this season. If this is the case, perhaps we’ll see him get a role in the front office in the future.
Whether or not this is his last ride, the writing is on the wall. The franchise wants Brown to retire in Los Angeles, and he has no intentions of leaving.