Dustin Brown: How much did his linemates matter? - LA Kings Insider

After establishing career-highs with 33 goals and 60 points in 2007-08, team captain Dustin Brown enjoyed a string of consistent productivity between 2008-09 and 2012-13 with a range of production between 51.7 points (prorated from 2012-13) and 57 points (2010-11).

Since then, Brown has taken a significant hit in his individual production. With 27 points in each of the last two seasons – tied in part to a sharply diminished shooting percentage – Brown has now seen his total goals and points per game fall in each of the past three seasons.

There are unquantifiable aspects of Brown’s game that do matter. As a two-time Stanley Cup winner, he has experience that few players across the league could match. He is a catalyzing ingredient of the collective group’s determination and resolve, and clearly had his fingerprints over so many of the intangibles that rose to the surface during the 2014 playoff comebacks and Stanley Cup run.

Independent of what Brown has done in the past, his 2014-15 season produced some interesting if slightly concerning numbers. His 5.87% shooting percentage and .986 PDO were career-lows. His -1.2% Corsi-rel (rate of driving play comparable to the rest of his teammates) was a negative for only the second time in his career. Perhaps of greater concern: the Kings scored only 1.7 goals per 60 minutes while he was on the ice, the lowest rate since his 19-year-old rookie season.

How much of his production dip was caused by the partners he skated with? How much of his production dip was caused by simply poor luck? Let’s consult this handy LAKI chart, which tracks 5×5 production and possession rates amongst forwards Brown played with.

Screenshot 2015-04-22 12.43.37

Observations (all numbers use 5×5 data):

-Brown was at his most productive when skating on a line with Justin Williams. His average of one point for every 29:52 of ice time alongside Williams was his best rate alongside any Kings forward he played a meaningful amount of time with. Ditto for his 58.3% goals-for percentage. The only problems? Williams, like Brown, was also an option to play alongside Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar, and Kopitar and Gaborik’s Corsi-for percentage alongside Williams (59.7% / 63.0%) weren’t really distinguishable from their rates alongside Brown (61.5% / 60.3%). Also, Williams is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Really, Gaborik and Kopitar more or less were equally comfortable playing with either Williams or Brown from a possession standpoint.

-From a production standpoint, Williams had superior rates alongside Gaborik and Kopitar. When Williams was on the ice with Gaborik, the Kings accounted for 66.7% of total goals scored. When he was on the ice with Kopitar, the Kings scored 60.0% of all five-on-five goals. When Brown was on the ice with Kopitar, the Kings scored only 39.1% of all goals. When he was on the ice with Gaborik, 43.8% of all goals were scored by the Kings.

-Given that Brown etched out a 61.5% Corsi-for rating with Kopitar and 60.3% with Gaborik, there was clearly poor luck involved. The trio drove play towards the attacking end about as well as could reasonably be expected but simply could not establish consistent offensive production.

-Considering that both Jarret Stoll and Williams are bound for unrestricted free agency and may very well play elsewhere next season, Brown once again may see elevated usage alongside Gaborik and Kopitar. If we’re basing any decisions five months from now on limited data from this past season, how about a look alongside Nick Shore? Los Angeles scored two thirds of the five-on-five goals in the very limited time Brown and Shore were on the ice together while maintaining a healthy possession rate (that was buoyed by beginning 45.3% of shifts in the offensive zone). There’s nowhere near enough of a sample size here, but it’s something to consider once we begin tracking lines and pairings during training camp.

Conclusion

Dustin Brown was most productive when paired with Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams, though either poor luck or some other variable limited his production when he skated alongside Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik. Brown is a versatile player capable of playing on the left or right wing and slotting anywhere in the top three lines, so it’s misguided to expect any 82-game regularity in where he plays and who he plays with.

Data collected by stats.hockeyanalysis.com, Puckalytics and War on Ice.

Calgary Flames v Los Angeles Kings

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left

Bio

Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
VIEW ADRIAN KEMPE POSTS

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.
VIEW ALEX IAFALLO POSTS

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

VIEW ANZE KOPITAR POSTS
Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

VIEW DREW DOUGHTY POSTS
Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

VIEW JEFF CARTER POSTS
Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

VIEW JONATHAN QUICK POSTS