Player evaluation: Brown
This season: 82 games, 24 goals, 32 assists, 41 penalty minutes, 19:15 average ice time.
The good: Brown looked strong after his Olympic experience, and had a torrid finish to the regular season, with six goals (including a hat trick) and four assists in his final six games. That stretch allowed him to exceed last season’s point total and come within four points of the career high (60) he set two seasons ago. Brown routinely led the Kings in both hits and shots on goal, and was a stable, respected captain on a team that made the playoffs for the first time in his career.
The bad: Brown remains prone to lengthy dry spells, in terms of point production, and seems to let it impact his confidence more than most forwards. Too often, Brown will try to force a play in the offensive zone, rather than simply reading the flow and making a simple play, whether it’s putting the puck at the net or passing it. He had 24 goals for a second consecutive season, after what appeared to have been a 33-goal breakthrough in 2007-08.
Going forward: It’s very easy to forget that Brown is still only 25 years old. He can only get better, and as he feels more comfortable in his role as captain, and settles into being a leader, his all-around game should calm down as well. Brown’s biggest challenge might be in the locker room. Expectations will rise for the Kings next season, and the Kings will go from hunters to hunted. Will they be prepared?