(Big blue circle= good possession numbers relative to teammates, big orange circle = bad possession numbers relative to teammates)
Dustin Brown's two greatest strengths this season were the same as they always seem to be. Peppering opposing goalies with shots and drawing penalties. Not only was he the strongest among the Kings in these categories, he was 23rd in the NHL in shots and 9th in penalties drawn.
His ability to draw penalties should not be undervalued. Eric T. of Broad Street Hockey recently penned of Brown, "Dustin Brown's penalty differential alone is worth two points a year in the standings, an enormous benefit for an individual contribution that goes largely unnoticed.".
In fact, Brown has been among the leaders in the NHL in this category year in and year out. This past season he was 5th in the NHL in penalties drawn, 3rd in '11-12, 3rd in '10-11, 3rd in ‘09-10, 1st in '08-09, and 3rd in '07-08. His ability to drawn penalties has been a consistent asset for L.A. over the years.
One area that Brown really struggled with in '11-12 was his shot production. His shot rate fell to a career low 7.9 shot per 60 at evens. He bounced back this season and posted his best rate since ‘08-09. He also registered the 2nd most scoring chances on the squad.
Brown formed the left side of what was one of the NHL's most formidable line combinations. Brown-Kopitar-Williams was one of the strongest puck possession lines the NHL has seen since these metrics have started being recorded. For his part, Brown was 3rd in possession numbers and 16th in the NHL.
There wasn't really very much wrong with Dustin Brown's game this season. The only real negative was his ability to record points at 5v5. He was actually 10th on the squad in points per 60 at evens and although he did score 18 goals this season, only a fraction of them were at even strength. In fact, his 5v5 points per 60 of 1.171 at even strength was by far his lowest over the last 6 seasons.
Look for more of the same from Dustin Brown next season. He's going to draw a ton of penalties while piling on the shots and hits. One area of improvement for him would be adding in a little bit more scoring at 5v5. It's reasonable to expect we'll see a jump from him in that regard since he actually registered the 2nd most scoring chances at evens. If he continues to log quality opportunities at that rate, his even strength goal totals will likely see a jump.
Brown did everything asked of him this season and then some. That earns him an A from us. He has been an insane value at a $3.2M cap hit, but that is soon coming to an end. Will he be able to keep up and possibly improve on his production in order to justify the expense?