By Bobby Bauders
Today Anze Kopitar was named the captain of the Los Angeles Kings, ending Dustin Brown’s reign. Could this be the end of Brown’s tenure in Southern California?
In short, no, at least not yet. Dean Lombardi, General Manger for LA indicated he wants to see how not having the pressure of being captain will affect his game. But, should things keep going downhill for Brown, expect a move at the trade deadline.
One reason for waiting till the deadline may be that moving Brown’s contract would prove to be a challenge for Lombardi. Brown is signed until the 2021-22 season with a $5.875 million cap hit. I can’t think of many teams who would want to take on that steep of a contract considering Brown’s troubles.
In the 2015-16 season, Brown played in 82 games garnering 11 goals and 28 points. In 5 games played in the playoffs he earned 1 assist and 0 goals. Not exactly deserving of a nearly $6 million cap hit.
Lombardi has no intention of buying out Brown’s contract at this point. “No, no, certainty not at this stage, no” Lombardi said.
Either way, LA is in desperate need to shed some salary as Tyler Toffoli will be a RFA next season. Not to mention the fact that LA still has Mike Richard’s buyout on the books.
When Brown got fired from the captaincy, the obvious questions was his confidence. For most people, that would destroy your confidence, and you’d request a trade. Why would you want to play for the team that fired you? But Lombardi seems sure this can turn around Brown’s performance.
Another obstacle in trading Dustin Brown is his modified no trade clause (NTC). According to the clause, Brown can submit a list of 8 teams he would accept a trade to. Since this is a no trade clause (NTC) and not a no movement clause (NMC), Brown would be available for the expected expansion draft next summer.
That poses an interesting question, could Lombardi be dangling Brown in front of the prospective Las Vegas team. That would certainly be an easy way of shedding Brown’s contract, but at no return other than burning cap. Not to mention that with the new expansion draft rules*, the new Vegas team will have a plethora of options to choose from, options much more appealing than Brown.
To conclude, LA Kings fans, you have one more year with Dustin Brown. Anze Kopitar is your new captain, but Brown will be on the ice. At least until the next trade deadline.
*The next expansion draft rules are as follows:
- The expansion team MUST select at least one player from EVERY team.
- The expansion team must have a roster of at least 3 goalies, 9 defensemen, and 14 forwards.
- Teams have to expose at least two forwards and one defenseman who played at least 40 games in the 2016-17 season, or 70 games in the previous 2 seasons.
- The expansion team can’t buy out any player acquired in the expansion draft until the following offseason.
- You can either choose to protect nine forwards, five defensemen, and one goalie, or you could protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and two goalies.