Player evaluation: Brown
This season: 82 games, 22 goals, 32 assists, plus-12 rating.
The good: In his final 21 regular-season games, Brown totaled eight goals and 15 assists. In his 20 playoff games, he totaled eight goals and 12 assists. That’s 16 goals and 27 assists in 41 games. Double that — the equivalent of a full season — and that’s an 86-point season. For whatever reason, Brown simply became a different player after word leaked that his name had become part of trade talks in late February. He became a two-way beast for most of the final six weeks of the regular season, then scored some massive goals and delivered some massive hits in the first three rounds of the playoffs. He was, more so than at any previous point in his career, a complete-package leader.
The bad: There’s a reason why Dean Lombardi didn’t immediately hang up the phone in February when other general managers mentioned Brown in trade talks. At that point, the Kings were floundering, and their captain wasn’t making much of an impact. As in previous years, Brown showed a tendency to go cold for long stretches, and at times even his intense level of hitting seemed to dip. Brown scored one goal in November and went 11 consecutive games without a goal in February before his re-awakening.
Going forward: Brown has always had the total respect of teammates, and is a lead-by-example workhorse. Now, he can carry himself with the confidence of a champion, and that’s important. Brown is often publicly timid, and doesn’t outwardly exude leadership, but he seemed to blossom and get more confident as the Kings went on their Cup run. Perhaps that will translate to on-ice performance. Brown has the skill to be a top performer. He needs to have the confidence to believe he can consistently be that top performer.