Dustin Brown Is Los Angeles Kings’ Biggest Question Mark for 2014-15

Despite winning two championships in the past three campaigns, Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown has some questions to answer in 2014-15.

He’s coming off a disastrous regular season that saw him post his lowest point total (27) since a 31-game rookie year in 2003-04. He managed more points (29) in 2013’s 48-game year than he did in 79 contests last season.

Now, offensive production is by no means the be-all and end-all of hockey—particularly Kings hockey—but that’s a really, really steep drop.

Likely penciled in as the right winger on L.A.’s first line alongside two-way stalwart Anze Kopitar and sharpshooter Marian Gaborik, Brown cannot afford to weigh them down next season. Much of the team’s enviable forward balance depends on his performance.

Is he poised for a bounce-back showing?



Though Brown largely maintained his level of physicality (246 hits, ninth in the league) and puck possession (57.9 Corsi percentage) in 2013-14, he fell short where the details of the game were concerned.

He wasn’t enough of a bull in front of the net or along the boards, letting the opposition off the hook rather than forcing the issue in the trenches.

This is reflected in a deceptively major component of his game: penalty differential. After a terrific string of plus-24, plus-35 and plus-27 (prorated over 82 games), his PD dropped all the way down to plus-11 in 2013-14.

Since 2011-12—the last full season prior to last year—the number of calls he’s drawn has withered down from 60 to 37.

Whether officials are no longer granting him the benefit of the doubt or opponents are demonstrating more restraint around him, it’s clear that Brown’s hit count didn't translate to effective hockey in 2013-14.

His nonchalance was also reflected in pit...

About the Author