The 2011-2012 season was quite a year for Dustin Brown. It had some lows, but it also saw fascinating highs. Those highs helped the captain of the Los Angeles Kings come in at no. 67 on our list of the top 100 players in the NHL.
Let’s start at the beginning. Brown was a 2003 draft pick of the Kings, but didn’t make his full-time leap to the club until the 2005-06 season. The lockout of ’04-’05 certainly didn’t help him stick at the NHL level any faster, as he spent that season with the Manchester Monarchs.
Initial scouting reports coming out of the OHL may have given Brown too much credit as a goal-scorer. While he does add his fair share of points to the stat sheet, Brown isn’t the scoring machine that many predicted him to become at the NHL level. That became evident in his first couple of years with the club, as Brown tallied just 74 points combined in his first two seasons.
Those point totals did increase over the next few seasons, with his best offensive year coming in 2007-2008. Brown’s 33-goal campaign stands as his best year, statistically. The seasons that have followed have hovered around a similar mark, meaning that at this point in his career, you know what you’re going to get out of Brown in the box score.
While he might not live up to the hype from an offensive standpoint, one thing that Brown does is hit. And hit. And hit some more. He is an absolute physical nightmare for opposing forwards. At 6’0″ and just a touch over 200 pounds, Brown isn’t the biggest guy on the ice, but he’s constantly at the top of the list for hits leaders every year.
The 2011-12 season was one that almost saw the end of Brown in a Kings sweater. After some major trades in the previous summer to make a run at a championship, Brown suddenly found his name out on the trade block. The following game, Brown went out and promptly netted a hat trick, declaring that he had no intention of going anywhere.
Just a few months later, Dustin Brown and the Kings hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. Had it not been for Jonathan Quick‘s brilliance, Brown’s name may have been in there for the Conn Smythe discussion. He made an impact both in the physical game and on the stat sheet for the Kings.
Brown has also left his mark on international play. He was an alternate captain for the United States for the 2010 Olympic team that took home a silver medal, as well as appearing in World Juniors and the World Championships multiple times.
Dustin Brown might not be the offensive powerhouse that some had hoped he’d become once he reached the NHL. But he’s one of the leagues more underrated captains, as a guy who brings the physical game and all of the intangibles to the ice. After briefly popping up in trade rumors, he’s clearly established that he is in Hollywood to stay, and is well on his way to immortality with the club, having already led them to a Stanley Cup title.