It may seem like the Kings are off to a rough start after blowing 3-1 leads in two consecutive starts against Minnesota, but hidden in all that disappointment is a reason to celebrate.
Winger Dustin Brown scored his 300th goal in the season opener. It’s a pretty momentous occasion for any NHL player… and he didn’t even know it.
Brown scored his goal during a power play with a wraparound attempt and a bounce-off of a Minnesota defender. The goal was originally scored to Adrian Kempe but credited to Brown after a review.
He becomes the 6th all-time leading scorer in a Kings’ uniform, 27 goals behind former Kings player Bernie Nicholls and 33 behind his current teammate Anze Kopitar.
The 16 season veteran moves up the NHL’s all-time goals list tying Dallas Stars Captain Jamie Benn at 206.
“But, I think Lias [Andersson] congratulated me after the game. I didn’t know what he was congratulating me for,” Brown said to reporters. “So, that’s kind of how I found out, but, you know, I guess if you play long enough, you can get to any milestone.”
That’s not the only milestone Brown has had with the team.
Remarkably, he’s spent 16 full seasons with the Kings. And, it’s even more remarkable that ever since he was drafted in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Brown has been one of the NHL’s most consistent wingers. Scoring a career-high 33 goals his fourth season in and averaging over 20 for the next four seasons after that. Even after a few down seasons, he’s had a resurgence, scoring 28 goals in 2017-18, 22 in 2018-19, and the shortened season last year, he scored 17 goals. These numbers aren’t something you see after spending a decade and a half in the league.
On October 8, 2008, Brown was named the 13th captain in team history, the youngest and only American captain in team history. Brown used his title to help lead his team to two Stanley Cup Championships in 2012 and 2014. Los Angeles’ first championships since the teams’ creation in 1967. He remained captain until 2016, when the team announced Kopitar would be taking over the role.
And as Hockeywriters.com reports, Brown has skated in 1,185 games and should easily hit a milestone of 1,200 games played during 2020-21. The only active players who have this achievement are Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Zdeno Chara, and Eric Staal.
He’s part of the future.
Brown is signed until 2023, which gives him enough time to help the young prospects during the rebuild, the only way he sees getting back to a winning team.
“We became a good team because our players became good players,” Brown said to NHL.com. “That’s going to be no different for this group. Our younger players have to become really, really good players. It’s a process, a slow process.”
Even as the clock continues to click, Brown will always consider himself an asset to the team. And after his tenure with the Kings, who can blame him? He has a true commitment to the organization and a true drive to be better.
Even Coach Todd McLellan agrees, telling NHL.com:
“He wants to be a King. He wants to be part of the solution.”
One thing is for certain: when Dustin Brown retires, he will always be considered L.A. royalty.
Featured Image: ---