The Kings thought about trading captain Dustin Brown but didn’t. Thanks to that, they’re now thinking about the Western Conference finals.
LOS ANGELES – The original idea was to put Dustin Brown in the same hotel room with Drew Doughty for mentoring purposes, to implant a little professionalism into the Kings’ Next One.
Now, near the end of February, the captain found himself confiding in the kid.
The Kings were shooting at nets encased by iron bars. The NHL trade deadline was hanging like a sword from General Manager Dean Lombardi’s ceiling.
The club had won just three games in February and were shut out, back-to-back, by Phoenix and Calgary at Staples Center.
Columbus was holding a yard sale, featuring Rick Nash and/or Jeff Carter, either of whom could feed the starving Kings. Brown had just 15 goals at the time. His name started bouncing around the internet like a Kardashian.
“Obviously he’s been here so long, he’s comfortable here, he loves all the boys on the team,” Doughty said. “We didn’t want him to leave either. I remember, when that was circulating, we’d talk a little bit about it.”
As we all know, the Kings traded Jack Johnson for Jeff Carter. Brown stayed put.
The next day he scored three goals against Chicago. He had four more down the stretch, as he was comfortably reunited with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams.
Then the playoff curtain lifted, and on Sunday, Brown reconfirmed the value of a mistake not made.