The relationship between the L.A. Kings and Dustin Brown has hit a rough patch, to say the least. Going in separate directions may eventually be possible, but probably not likely — not for another six years when his contract is up.
On Thursday, Brown was candid about the club’s decision to strip him of his captaincy, and his relationship with management and head coach Darryl Sutter.
Based on his comments, Brown didn’t hold back his disappointment and frustration with the situation or how it was handled from the organization’s perspective.
And his relationship with management, and the coach? According to Brown, he’s had some very honest conversations with both GM Dean Lombardi and Sutter the coach about his role going forward. Far from warm and fuzzy, particularly with management.
This could all make things very awkward between the Kings and their former captain going forward, because Brown still has six more years left on his current contract — eight years worth a total of $47 million and an annual cap hit of $5.875 million.
A buyout? That, according to General Fanager, would come with a total cost of more than $21 million. And Lombardi has said he believes Brown can get his game back.
A trade? Brown turns 32 in November and his production has dropped significantly since the end of the 2011-12 season and Stanley Cup run, scoring 11 goals in each of the last two seasons and fewer than 30 points in each of the last four seasons (one of those was the lockout-shortened campaign).
“We had pretty candid conversations. From my perspective, I think they’ve tried to trade me and have been unable to come to a deal – whether that was last week, three months ago, five months ago, or a year ago, I couldn’t tell you,” said Brown, as per Mayor’s Manor.
So, what happens now?
Anze Kopitar is the Kings’ captain now.
Brown said he believed Kopitar would do well in that position, while putting the onus on himself to play better.
“My job is to be a better hockey player for my teammates,” Brown continued. “And, as a result, help this team win. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s a business and I understand all of that. I think it’s my job just to come in ready to go in September.”