This season: 80 games, 24 goals, 29 assists, 64 penalty minutes, 19:24 average ice time.
The good: Brown took some heat in his role as captain this season, but the Kings’ locker room was more cohesive than it has been in recent years. The captain doesn’t deserve all of the credit for that, but it’s his job to maintain locker-room peace, and both Dean Lombardi and Terry Murray have noted that the players truly seem to enjoy each other’s company. When you’re building a team, that factor can’t be underestimated. And while Brown also took some heat for his play, he led the team in shots on goal (by a wide margin) and hits.
The bad: When Brown scored 33 goals last season, expectations soared, but Brown fell back to 24 goals this season. Part of that can be attributed to Terry Murray’s team-wide emphasis on defense, but clearly there were stretches of the season in which Brown didn’t look like himself. There were other issues, involving the premature birth of his son and his late-season disclosure of a back injury, but clearly Brown will be counted on for more offense next season.
Going forward: The Kings need to figure out what Brown is. Is he an elite scorer capable of playing on the first line, or is he better off on the second line, or even the third line with Michal Handzus? Regardless, Kings fans don’t need to worry much about Brown. He’s going to hit, he’s going to shoot and, as he grows more comfortable and learns to be more vocal, he’s going to be a capable captain. A few more goals next season would ease everyone’s minds.