Should Brian Burke Go After Dustin Brown?
Fresh off the heals of acquiring Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jack Johnson and a conditional first round draft choice, Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi is said to be facing cap issues and may be willing to deal captain Dustin Brown.
Originally drafted in the first round (13th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Brown stands 6’0” and weighs in at just over 200 pounds. A gritty forward with a measure of offensive punch, Brown has registered 14 goals (including five power play markers) and 17 assists through 61 games this season. Brown has five game winners, which ranks him 15th overall and is a plus six on the season.
While Brown’s offensive total’s are a little south of where they probably should be, he more than makes up for those shortcomings with defensively responsible physical play and the fact that he currently sits second amongst all forwards with 215 hits on the season.
A natural right winger, Brown has been used on the left wing as well this season. His ability to make a hit and dig out pucks would be a perfect fit for the Toronto Maple Leafs—a team that has had it’s physical play questioned throughout the season.
Brown averages 3:34 of ice-time on the power play and 1:39 on the penalty kill. His special teams play, especially on the power play, is excellent and when you consider the physical element he brings to the table there is no reason why he couldn’t be asked to increase his time on the PK.
When you consider everything Brown brings to the table—a power forward who has scored 30 goals in the NHL, has the ability to make the big hit, compliments the power play and brings leadership skills—it is hard to believe Los Angeles may consider moving their captain.
Let’s be clear here, Los Angeles is not in dire straights when it comes to cap room. According to capgeek.com the Kings still project to have $628,799 in cap space right now, with a max cap hit of $2,705,298 available at the deadline.
That said, when you consider the salaries of Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, the Kings now have nearly $18 million invested in their top three forwards, not to mention Dustin Penner’s ugly $4,250,000 contract which expires after this season.
Brown’s salary comes in at $3,175,000 and is set to expire at the end of the 2013-24 season. Not only is Brown’s salary reasonable, but with him signed for two more seasons after this year he becomes all the more attractive to the right suitor.
Los Angeles has no draft pick in the first three rounds of this summers draft. If Los Angeles was to trade Brown it is widely felt that they will be looking for a prospect and/or draft pick to make up for their shortcoming.
Brown may not be the physical centre everyone in Toronto wants to see, but he would be a tremendous fit for Brian Burke. Burke knows Brown from his contributions to Team USA and we all know Burke seems to have a thing for American players, so why not Brown?
It says here if Burke can find a way to bring Brown into the fold he should jump at the chance…and, in light of the teams recent goaltending struggles, it would be nice if he could find a way to include Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier into the fold as well!
Until next time,