The Los Angeles Kings will be without forward Dustin Brown to start the season. The team made the announcement Sunday after the 33-year-old was injured during Los Angeles’ pre-season finale on Saturday night.
The Kings were facing the Anaheim Ducks when Brown was hit by an Anze Kopitar shot in the middle stanza. He left the game.
Brown has only missed 18 games since his arrival on the Kings in 2005. He’s been an exceptionally durable player, but that’ll be put to the test as it seems he could be out some significant time.
The Kings have him out indefinitely right now and there may be a more certain timetable soon.
Brown has never missed more than four games in a single season prior to this and he’s seen all 82 games in a season five times. He’s also appeared in all 85 Los Angeles playoff games during his tenure.
Brown yielded the captaincy of the Kings in 2016 after a decline in production, but he’s been climbing back into effectiveness. Last season, he posted 28 goals for the squad and he was looking forward to more of the same this season.
But his production uptick will have to wait.
“It’s not good to lose one of your top guys,” Drew Doughty told The Athletic. “Brownie is a guy that is very, very hard to replace. Both in the room and on the ice.”
Brown plays a rugged style, punctuated last season by a team-high 189 hits. He was due to start the season on a line with Kopitar and Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Kings are entering 2018-2019 with lofty expectations.
Kopitar returned to form with a 92-point year last season and Jonathan Quick was a hot goalie again. The team rallied for a fourth place finish in their division but were swept out of the first round by the Golden Knights.
With coach John Stevens at the helm, Los Angeles is hoping to ride a returning Kovalchuk to the promised land once more. But the injury to Brown stings and the club will have to wait to see what a full complement of players can do. For the short-term, someone else will benefit from the top line’s hopeful chemistry.