Dustin Brown Extension: Kings Solidify Stanley Cup Core by Locking Up Captain

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IJuly 18, 2013

Dustin Brown is the heart and soul of the Los Angeles Kings.

He embodies the tough, physical style of play that the team displayed in its first ever Stanley Cup championship two years ago when Brown tallied 20 points in 20 games in a performance that culminated with him lifting hockey's Holy Grail as team captain.

This is the type of moment that the Kings expect to experience again in the near future, which is why the team re-signed Brown on Thursday to an eight-year deal worth $47 million, per Chris Johnston of Sportsnet:

This signing is another example of the brilliant job that general manager Dean Lombardi has done to lock up the team's championship core long-term.

"It certainly is a hallmark of the stability we're trying to create here," Lombardi said in an interview with KingsVision.

"You add him to the core of the other top players that we now have signed to long-term deals, but having your captain now under the umbrella is certainly a good feeling."

The process of developing stability began prior to the Kings' championship season when Lombardi signed No. 1 defenseman Drew Doughty to an eight-year deal worth $56 million in the fall of 2011. Since then, a few of the team's best players have been given long-term contracts, per Capgeek.

PlayerPositionAgeContract TermImportance
Jonathan QuickGoalie2710 yearsArguably the best goalie in the NHL and winner of the 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy.
Drew DoughtyDefense23Eight yearsOne of the league's best young defenseman with an amazing two-way skill set.
Slava VoynovDefense23Six yearsA rising star and one of the best young offensive defensemen in the NHL.

In addition to these contracts, star forwards Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar are also signed for at least three more seasons. Veteran defenseman Robyn Regehr and rookie sensation Jake Muzzin have signed multi-year deals in the last few months to maintain the team's great depth on the blue line.

In total, all of the team's top-six forwards and three of its four-best defensemen are signed beyond next season.

As a team that excels with a physical style of hockey and is built to handle the wear and tear of the postseason, Lombardi has made sure that his best defensive players and starting goaltender are re-signed long-term.

In addition to a forward group that includes players with impressive two-way skill sets, including Brown, the Kings have built a talented and deep blue line that features an impressive combination of mobility, puck-moving, defensive skill and special teams ability. This blue line is anchored by Quick, who has become one of the top two goalies in the world and an elite playoff performer.

Defense wins championships in the NHL, and with Brown's contract extension, the Kings have maintained a level of defensive talent that will give them a strong chance to shut down the most potent offensive teams in the playoffs for years to come.

One of the traps that GMs often fall into is showing too much loyalty to players who helped the team win a championship. This often leads to these players getting contracts they don't deserve, which can hurt the team's cap flexibility down the road.

Lombardi has avoided this situation by not overpaying to re-sign players. As a result, Los Angeles has only two players (Kopitar and Doughty) with contracts that include cap salary cap hits above $5.75 million. Quick's cap hit of just $5.8 million is tremendous value for the club.

In the likely event that the cap ceiling rises significantly over the next few years as league revenue increases, the Kings will be in a strong position to re-sign important players and make additions to the roster because of their financial flexibility.

All of the signings Lombardi has finalized over the last few years have given the Kings a core of veteran and young players with loads of talent and championship experience.

Not only have they won together, these players are a tremendous fit in the team's physical style of play and show an exceptional level of professionalism and dedication on and off the ice.

This is why Los Angeles is going to be a legitimate contender in the Western Conference and a threat to win the Stanley Cup for the next five years.


Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. He was also a credentialed writer at the 2013 Stanley Cup Final in Boston. All salary information via CapGeek.