Player evaluation: Brown

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DUSTIN BROWN
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.

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  • Marc Nathan

    Not sure I get the “heat as Captain” reference. Did I miss something? Am I forgetting something? One thing I am not forgetting is his ineffective play for long stretches this season.

    So, rank these items in terms of their importance when describing Brown’s final quarter funk:

    * BAD BACK

    * PREMATURE BABY

    * JUST NOT REALLY AS GOOD AS WE THOUGHT HE WAS IN 2007-08

    * DISILLUSIONED AFTER THE O’SULLIVAN TRADE (good friends)

  • anthonyy

    I share Marc Nathans point of view.
    Especially the 4th one.
    Brown, Kopi, and Sully were best friends. And Sully and Quincey were roomates.
    Why break up such a good connection and relationship.

    I’m sure Brown will bounce back from all of this.
    But I must be honest about one thing. Brown is not captain material. One of the most important responsibilty of a captain is firing up his teammates. Brown did not accomplish that. Often the team looked flat and unmotivated.
    But I love him as a player.

  • variable

    rich…

    top-notch evaluation on brownie…still scratching my head on the media’s pick for team mvp…????…maybe for the first 25-30 games…no way the FULL SEASON…i agree with everything you said…so i’ll just expand a bit on the ground work you laid out:

    – completely agree when you question his goal scoring capabilities…can he be a 30-40 goal scorer/70-80 pt. a season player…?

    i believe the answer to that question is yes…but he has to make better offensive decisions next year than he did this season…sometimes shooting is not the best option: there were several breakouts out of the defensive zone when i thought he shot too early and didn’t show some patience of letting the play develop further…don’t get me wrong…it’s a great mentality to have…the urgency to get the puck on net…but i felt brownie settled for too many point shots from the top of the circles and could’ve made some better offensive decisions out there…

    – brownie had some unfortunate family issues that are well documented…i hope lil’ mason gets out of the hospital soon and is able to live a healthy, rewarding life…so maybe, during the crunch time games…when the kings were still in the playoff hunt…this affected his play when the team much needed him…

    i never was more embarrassed by the unfortunate comments a select few made on this site when brownie decided to spend time w/his wife, nicole, during his son’s premature birth…life always comes first before occupation…and for those who don’t understand that, i feel bad for them because they obviously don’t get what life’s about…i won’t go any further than that…

    but the reality is it did hurt his play (how could it not) and it was just poor timing for the kings, since brownie’s play up until that point was one of the key reasons why we were in that position in the first place…

    – captain brownie: i think for someone being asked for the first time to be the leader amongst leaders of the young and old, brownie did an admirable job…i’m sure army, o.d., greener and kopi were there to help him shoulder some of the responsibilities and lend their support…but brownie always seemed up to the challenge and exhibited a “can do” attitude…for someone who was considered to be very quiet and raw when he first entered the league, brownie has done a good job turning the leaf and becoming much more involved…maybe it wasn’t his first choice to step up to the plate this soon…but he now knows that he is going to be the overall face of the franchise for years to come…not many first time captains get it right away…i think there’s room for growth…but there’s no question that brownie possesses those attributes to be a successful leader…

    – playing through back pain is never easy…so, even though his production slipped down the stretch, i give him lots of credit for hanging in there and trying to lead by example as much as he was able to under all the circumstances…

    i think next year, brownie has a lot to prove…maybe as much or more so than anyone else next season…and i think if he’s healthy and his child’s condition improves as expected, we can all see brownie to be leading the way come next season with an elevated all-around game/effort…

  • Seitz

    **But I must be honest about one thing. Brown is not captain material. One of the most important responsibilty of a captain is firing up his teammates. Brown did not accomplish that.**

    Considering how much time you spent in the locker room, anthony, I’m sure we can all give your evaluation the respect it deserves.

    I get a kick out of all the people who are “experts” on whether a play is a good captain or not, despite having no basis for evaluation aside from what they see on TV or from a seat at Staples. This may come as a surprise, but there’s more to being a captain than what happens on the ice. But certainly, if you experts have some inside sources who say the players were unhappy with Brown’s performance as captain, please feel free to share it with the rest of us.

  • BakoCAcameraGuy

    Variable–

    No one says it better, concur.

  • jleung

    Add “trying to get comfortable playing left wing following the O’Sullivan trade” as another “excuse.”

  • Seitz

    **whether a play is a good captain or not, **

    Sorry, make that ‘player’.

  • Duckhunter

    If I could give Dustin just one point of advice it would be SLOW down. He looks like his brain and skates are on “Meth”. You very rarely hear anybody say that about a athlete, but I feel if he slowed his game down a little he would become a better player. The hits are nice, but he often overskates the puck or play, looses an edge, and doesn’t see open teammates on occasions. I’m not arguing or disappointed with his hustle, effort or dedication by any means. Just suggesting he’d be better slowing down a little.

  • Sam

    Wow. Just wow. I suppose if a player plays more than a second of bad hockey at some point he should go? Brown had a back issue, the whole team stopped scoring, and he had to deal with a pre-mature birth of a child. I think that pretty much means we didn’t get the most out of Brownie towards the end of the year. I’m comfortable with that explanation given he’s never seemed to be a player who wouldn’t want to give max effort.

    As for the Sully trade, theirs nothing to be disillusioned about. Look it up, Sully had 1 goal in his last how many games? I think it was 19 or so. He had 15 all year. He certainly didn’t do much for the Oil.

    If you want the Kings to improve trades like O’Sullivan for Williams are going to happen more often, not less. It was a pure upgrade for the Kings. Williams is 27, has scored 30+ goals multiple times in a row in the NHL. He’s an upgrade, plain and simple. That was a good trade for the Kings. Maybe not this year but certainly for many years to come.

  • Cricket

    Anthony,

    I heard Jim Fox saying earlier this season that Quincey lived with Moller and Simmonds (in Cammy’s old place, I believe.) Sully and Q are good friends so I think they lived together initially just for Q to get settled. But I wouldn’t call them roomates.

    And Sully was well-liked by his teammates and close with Brown, Kopi, and Q, but “Best Friends?” I didn’t see the team play any worse after the trade. It’s straight-up speculation in the dark to for most of us, if not all, to say the trade disillusioned anyone (no disrespect Marc, maybe you have an inside track I don’t).

    I think everyone on the team realizes more trades are coming, anyway, and that part of the process right now is building a team. Sully came through a trade, and he left by a trade. I don’t think its speculative, however, to say these guys understand that’s part of the buisness of the game.

    And Anthony, I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with you man, but I don’t mind you at all. I’m not trying to attack, but I do feel your post represents a little fabrication used to state something as fact that isn’t necessarily so.

    Sorry to get off the topic on Brown, but Variable said it all for my money.

  • Ersberg

    Brown’s performance dipped some this season(goals, hits-rank overall, points), but he did have some off-ice factors that may have prevented a better season than he anticipated. Not much more can be said, except he’ll be back.

  • Dan H.

    Brown will be fine. I just hope the family problem sorts it’s way out in a good way and he can get back to normal life and not be constantly worried about his son. For those that don’t have kids you don’t understand that they’re always on your mind, especially when they’re sick. That’s if you’re a good parent anyway and it appears he is.

  • m

    I will hold out any judgment on Brown as a captain for a couple of years. We’ll see how he grows into it. It’s not like he had the best mentors (see Blake).

    As for what kind of player he is? I don’t think Brown is top-tier, but I think he’s a great 2nd line forward. I think that’s where he belongs.

  • anthonyy

    Cricket,
    Or maybe you’re correcting me.
    Thats OK. No insult taken.

  • Cricket

    Anthony,

    Thanks for the civility.

  • Big A

    Err, anthonyy =/= anthony, right? Two different peeps, unless the added “y” is something new.

    Nice evaluation, Rich. I agree that a lof of it boils down to whether we jumped the gun a bit wrt his scoring prowess. Brown is a great guy who I hope will be our captain for years to come. Had some tough stretches this year, though. In the future he’s going to have to assert himself a little more on the ice, particularly when his mates are getting waylaid by cheap shots. And if he really tanked in any way because of the POS trade – which I STRONGLY doubt – then he still has a lot of maturing to do.

  • anthonyy

    Big A,
    the reason why my name has another y, is because the name anthony has already been taken by somebody else from this site.
    I wasn’t allowed to use that name.
    Apparently, there are a few who would rather not have me on this site..
    So I had to use another name.
    But I am who I am. I never use another name, and I never use anonymous.

  • deadcatbounce

    Marc Nathan, I have to take issue with you about your assertion that O’Sullivan’s trade had anything to do with Brown’s performance. He’s been around long enough now to know that players come and go, either through free-agency or trades and that movement is all a part of the game. If you’re that devastated by your teammate being traded then you have no business in the NHL. I do believe that Brown would make a good second line player. Put Frolov up with Kopitar and find someone who can compliment the both of them.

  • brianguy

    B- year for Brown and that is giving the benefit of the doubt. he eked out an 80/100 this season, and much of that is because of him being good captain and remaining 2nd in the league in hits and 1st on the team in shots. and playing 80 games and with a sore back down the stretch, I give him a positive for that.

  • jet

    Brown is a stud. I am sure any team in the league would be thrilled to have him. The production was down the last 20 games, but that is exactly what I would expect from anyone in a similar position.

    Being a good captain, is less about firing people up and more about being a good leader. Leadership is about being held to the highest standard with regards to mental and physical preparation. There is also a high value on being able to stay on task when things are not going perfect (often with a young team). Maybe the most important attribute is to understand who you are leading. Some will need to be complimented, others will need to be taught, some will need to be pushed, some frequently and some occasionally. Even natural leaders struggle with this differentiation in the beginning. Brown was not perfect, but he did a remarkable job as a first year captain. A+

  • Moondoggie

    Brownie will be fine. He went through a lot this year; he didn’t shirk his responsibility as team captain when the Kings played poorly, there was the premature birth of his son and finally a lower back injury no one knew anything about. The funny thing, even with the injury, it didn’t keep him from playing, from hitting. Sure he wasn’t the same player towards the end of the season but that was only because he was hurting. Brownie will be fine next season and beyond. Wear the “C” with pride.

    One other thing, anyone notice the leadership Justin Williams has brought to the lockeroom? Nothing against Kopi or Greenie but someone has got to take a look at giving Justin an “A” at least. It might free up Kopi some of his responsibility to become just the pure skater and shooter he really is.

  • nykingfan

    I think Brownie will be fine next year. He had a ton on his plate this season…It’s not easy being a 23 year old captain in the NHL and everything he went thru this year was a learning experience…..He’ll be that much better for it next season.
    I expect a huge bounce back year from Brownie.

    I would think the family issue and the back were contributing factors, but folks…lets get serious here for a moment.
    Assume for a second that you’re right (thankfully you’re not!)…and the Sully trade caused him to regress…IF and that’s a huge IF…but if that’s the case…ship his a$$ out of town.
    I don’t want someone with such a fragile psychie being captain of my hockey team..let alone play on my team.

    These are professional athletes…they’ve made friends thoughout their hockey lives with guys they’ve played with from Pee wee to Juniors to Manchester to LA.
    they are used to saying goodbye to friends and getting on with their lives and careers.

    I have to wonder if some of you have ever played competitive sports growing up….This is basic stuff…friends come and go…life goes on.

  • Marc Nathan

    Cricket,

    Yes it is straight up speculation, which is why I don’t say it as truth, I pose it as a question/observation. All the bullshit talk from management about the core, and the way the group bonded, and then he trades a kid like O’Sullivan to get a guy with 3 goals and two operated on knees… it just seemed like it would not have boosted morale among the core. I’ve got my personal feelings, and they are not locker room facts, but I’d sure like to know what was in the minds of “the core” when that came down.

  • wisconsinKingsfan

    I think Brownie will rebound next year, he had so much thrown at him in just one season. I see him more as a second or third line player. And I think he is a very respected captain who has done that job admirably.

  • Cricket

    Marc Nathan,

    I understand what you’re saying and the part that bothered me most about the trade was the fact that Sully had been mentioned time and time again as being one of the “core” players on the team. I guess I’m just addressing that maybe the trade had a lesser hit on the morale than someone like me might think. The trade may or may hardly be disheartening, and I’m curious what those guys think, too. Still, I would think of the things you mentioned in your original post, it was the least of Brown’s worries.

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