According to NHL jedi Bob McKenzie of TSN, the LA Kings are shopping their captain, Dustin Brown.
The Chicago Blackhawks should absolutely, without question, make a play Brown. Here’s why.
We’ll start off the ice, because that matters but doesn’t show up in box scores. Financially, Brown has two years left on his current contract with a $3.175M cap hit. More importantly, Brown is one of the truly great character guys in the NHL, and wears the “C” as well as anyone in the game. He has received the distinguished NHL Foundation Award, and his charitable work is well known around the league.
If Kings GM Dean Lombardi thinks adding Jeff Carter and subtracting Brown is going to make that dressing room better… good luck.
Now to what fans care about during games: the on-ice reasons to acquire Brown.
Brown, 27, is listed at 6’0″ and 204 pounds and he ranks second among all forwards with 215 hits in 61 games. However, has only been called for 43 penalty minutes this season. Not many forwards bring it physically every single night the way Brown does, which the Blackhawks are desperately lacking.
What unit on the Blackhawks needs help the most? How about the power play, which is struggling through a drought that is approaching biblical standards right now. Brown averages 3:34 on ice per game on the power play for the Kings, which ranks 25th among NHL forwards to date. He also has five power play goals.
Brown is a right wing, but he’s also a right-handed shot. What do Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Viktor Stalberg have in common? They’re all left-handers. Brown would bring a dynamic to the top-six that only Patrick Sharp has been able to provide the Hawks’ top six in this regard as well.
What would it cost the Hawks to land the Kings’ captain? It’s hard to say. He has 14 goals and 17 assists in 61 games this year, but has been over 50 points in each of the last four seasons with LA. Because they’re different players (on and off the ice), Lombardi moving defenseman Jack Johnson and a first round pick to Columbus for Carter is hard to use as a benchmark for offers.
The most important question for Chicago GM Stan Bowman is whether or not Brown, or any other player he acquires, is the right player for this team. In this case, the answer is an emphatic yes.