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NHL Trade Speculation: Where Will LA Kings' Dustin Brown Go over the Summer?

NEWARK, NJ - MAY 29:  Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings speaks during Media Day for the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at Prudential Center on May 29, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Steven SlivkaCorrespondent IIIMay 30, 2012

Just before the February trade deadline, the Los Angeles Kings were more than willing to part ways with their two-way forward Dustin Brown.

As we've seen, that trade never happened and the Kings couldn't be more happy.

Brown has taken full advantage of the "C" on his sweater this postseason by racking up 17 points in 14 games. Not to mention, he's been the proverbial stone in every opponents' shoe.

His big hits have angered opposing teams and awakened his own.

The Kings couldn't put anything in the net during the regular season, but since the playoffs started, they've played like a team possessed scoring 41 goals in 14 games.

Brown's ability to be at the right place at the right time is a critical reason why the Kings are four wins away from their first Stanley Cup in team history.

If Los Angeles can win it all, it's unlikely Brown will be shipped out. The Kings drafted him 13th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, and he has been the spark that has lit their offense this postseason.

However, if L.A. falls short of a Stanley Cup Championship, then Brown may be headed somewhere else.

As the trade deadline approached in late February, TSN's Bob McKenzie reported that several teams had shown interest in acquiring Brown, including the Rangers, Bruins, Canucks and the Kings' Stanley Cup foe, the Devils.

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 02:  Portrait of Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings during the game against the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center on April 2, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

His contract gives him flexibility as to where he could end up.

According to capgeek.com, Brown is scheduled to make $3.5 million a year for the next two seasons (with a $3.175 million cap hit). and is without a "no-movement" clause in his contract.

This means L.A. has the power to trade Brown if they want to.

Some notable names in the right wing free-agent class of 2012 are Jaromir Jagr, Shane Doan and Brad Boyes.

Brown could be a good fit in Philadelphia if the Flyers don't sign Jagr to another deal and would be reunited with his former teammate Wayne Simmonds.

It's highly unlikely the Coyotes will deal Doan as his consistency and loyalty to the team trace back to the old Winnipeg Jets; and the Kings wouldn't trade Brown within the Pacific Division, anyway.

That leaves Buffalo.

The Sabres did not get the production from Boyes they were hoping for when they traded for him in 2011.

Boyes scored 43 goals during the 2007-08 season as a member of the St. Louis Blues; but since arriving in Buffalo, he has scored a measly 13 goals in 86 games.

He is making nearly $1 million a year more than Brown, and has been far less productive. Not to mention that if traded to Buffalo, Brown would be playing about 150 miles from his hometown of Ithaca, N.Y.

 

 

It seems like the most logical decision if Brown is dealt anywhere.

As of right now, trading Brown is the farthest thing from Kings' G.M., Dean Lombardi's, mind. Brown has almost single-handedly been the catalyst to a Kings team that barely made the playoffs.

Brown's value will increase greatly after the season is over—and the way he is playing right now, it can only go up even higher.

A scrappy, versatile forward like him is hard to find; and his leadership skills add to his ability to change any game with one hard check along the boards, or a laser from the point.

Either way, Brown has become one of the hottest commodities in the NHL, and if he stays in L.A., the Kings will be a contender for a while.

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