Brown sees positive future in taking deal

Times Staff Writer

Endorsements come in different packages and this one came in a leap of faith from a forward who will be celebrating his 23rd birthday Sunday.

The Kings’ Dustin Brown could have become Dustin II at the end of this season, a restricted free agent, waiting to see whether an Edmonton Oiler-like offer sheet would come his way like the one that landed at the skates of Dustin Penner in July.

But he took a look around the dressing room and came to a different conclusion, speaking in-depth about his decision Friday to sign a six-year, $19.05-million contract extension.


“If it’s a different situation, maybe I don’t take a six-year deal,” Brown said after practice Tuesday. “But we have a promising, up-and-coming group, and I really wanted to be a part of that. I look around and half the guys in this room are under 25.”

The landscape -- a new coaching staff and management team and a revamped lineup -- is drastically different from when he played his first NHL game here in the 2003-04 season.

“Let’s see here, just four guys from my first year, five including me. It’s amazing how much it can change in one year, and over the course of five, it’s a lot,” Brown said. “The first year, it fell apart. We were first at Christmas -- that was the tail end of the injury bug, I guess.”

Brown and his wife, Nicole, made a decision to make a long-term commitment to the Kings. They are expecting a boy, their first child, in February.

“It’s been a long process,” said Brown, who has four goals and eight points in 12 games. “When I first came out here, she hated it. And now she loves it and doesn’t want to leave. We didn’t know a lot of people. For me, it’s easy, because I’ve got 20 instant friends.

“I’m a little shy and it takes me a while to get comfortable and once I am comfortable I’m staying in that comfort zone. It helps that I’m a little bit older.”



vs. Columbus, 7:30, FSN West

Radio -- 1150.

Site -- Staples Center.

Records -- Kings 6-6; Blue Jackets 6-3-1.

Record vs. Blue Jackets (2006-07) -- 2-1-1.

Update -- The league’s best penalty-killing rate (94.1%) and four shutouts and a goals-against average (1.29) from Pascal Leclaire add up to this franchise-best start for Columbus.