Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 07/19/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Dustin BROWN looked at the core of the Los Angeles Kings, and his decision was easy. He wanted to stay long-term, and he wanted to get the deal done himself.
Brown did just that, signing for eight years and US$47 million, ensuring that this Stanley Cup-champion Kings team would have its captain around through the 2021-22 season. The right-winger joined goaltender Jonathan Quick, defencemen Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov and forwards Mike Richards and Jeff Carter as players signed for at least the next six seasons.
"We weren't built to win the Cup one year and then disappear," Brown said. "Now it's kind of all come into place in the sense that we're all going to be going through this together."
That was Dean Lombardi's goal when he took over as general manager in 2006. He acquired Richards and Carter and their contracts that run through 2020 and 2022, respectively, then tried to build on the first title in franchise history by keeping Quick around through 2023 and Doughty and Voynov through 2019.
Signing Brown to this contract was just "part of the process."
"It wasn't only building it, but trying to keep it together and then fit it under the cap," Lombardi said on a conference call Thursday. "You're never done. It wasn't just about becoming a good team. It was doing these type of things so that you could, in the end, build a culture, have an identity."
Brown is, in many ways, the Kings' identity. The 28-year-old right-winger's aggressive forecheck led the way during the 2012 Stanley Cup run, when he was a point-a-game player.
When Brown dealt with a knee injury and managed just three goals and an assist in 18 playoff games this past spring, the banged-up Kings couldn't get past the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference final.
"He freely admits at times during his past season where, as the leader of this team, he's got to do more," Lombardi said. "That's a sign of growth. He's not there looking (like), 'Well, I'm the captain, I should be getting all this money, I'm great.' He's looking at it and saying, 'I've got to be better here if we're going to do this again.' "
With the hope that the Kings could win it all again, Brown decided to represent himself in contract negotiations, citing a comfort level with the only NHL organization he has known. If he had an agent working on it, Brown said, talks probably would still be ongoing.
Instead, Lombardi and Brown spoke in person and on the phone and hammered out a deal that counts $5.875 million against the salary cap beginning in 2014-15.
"I really like the fact that the discussion was as much about the team and the cap and how it works from a team perspective as it was about what he thought he was worth," Lombardi said. "That shows he's working with the team."
Brown did his homework, getting comparables from the NHL Players' Association and analyzing his value. But he also knew full well "there's only so much money to go around."
"Within the cap I think we have an opportunity to keep this team together," Brown said. "That was part of my decision in wanting to stay is I believe we have a chance to win."
The Kings have undergone some changes since they won in 2012, losing defenceman Rob Scuderi and left-winger Dustin Penner in free agency, acquiring defenceman Robyn Regehr and trading backup goalie Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs. But the bulk of those who hoisted the Cup will be around for the foreseeable future.
-- The Canadian Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 19, 2013 C8
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Is NHL ready to gamble on Vegas?
Buff just wants to have fun
Flames' Gaudreau added to all-star game
World Cup format a winner
Weber shows off shot at skills competition
Ex-arena official sues NJ Devils GM over lost wages
Lightning's Johnson ruled out of All-Star skills competition
What World Cup all-star teams may look like
World Cup of Hockey returns in 2016
Dream come true for Seabrook
Nugent-Hopkins, Forsberg picked last in NHL All-Star Draft
Kessel at centre of all-star draft laughs
Penguins star Crosby has injection for lower-body injury
NHL all-star weekend missing big stars
Crosby out of all-star game with injury
Predators rookie added to All-Star Game; Malkin, Crosby out
McDavid lucky to have Orr to lean on
NHL All-Stars, Ohio State football share stage in Columbus
CBJ's Bobrovsky to miss All-Star game with lower-body injury
Malkin to miss all-star game with injury
Bieksa out indefinitely with broken hand
Sharks beat Kings 4-2 in final game before All-Star break
O'Reilly's tying goal helps Avalanche to SO win over Bruins
Lovejoy propels streaking Ducks past Flames 6-3
Jets win fifth straight, 4-0 over Columbus
Blackhawks beat short-handed Penguins in shootout 3-2
Sharks hold special Metallica night for game against Kings
Karlsson scores twice as Senators edge Leafs
Red Wings send LW Teemu Pulkkinen to AHL
Former all-star Ray Whitney retires
Predators send goalie Mazanec back to AHL for All-Star break
Ducks assign Mark Fistric to minors
Coyotes call up McKenna to serve at Smith's backup
Rask, Hamilton lead Bruins to 3-1 win over Stars
Blackhawks hand Coyotes 6th straight loss, 6-1
Giroux scores OT winner in Flyers' 3-2 win over Penguins
Red Wings earn rare shootout win, 5-4 over Minnesota Wild
Subban OT goal lifts Habs over Preds 2-1