To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first NHL Draft, NHL.com assembled a 13-member panel to select the best first-round picks of all time, based on selection number. NHL.com will feature one of the top first-round picks each day, beginning with the best No. 30 pick on June 1 and culminating with the all-time No. 1 pick on June 30, the day of the 2013 NHL Draft.
Brown was No. 2 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2003 NHL Draft, but was available at No. 13 for the Kings after a season that saw him total 34 goals and 76 points in 58 games with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League and add four points in seven games for the United States at the 2003 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The Kings plugged Brown right into the lineup as an 18-year-old in 2003-04, giving him 8:18 of ice time in his debut, Oct. 9, 2003 against the Detroit Red Wings. He registered his first NHL point in his 10th game, and had a goal and four assists in 31 games.
He spent the 2004-05 season with the Kings' American Hockey League affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, and returned to the NHL in 2005-06 a more developed player. He had 14 goals and 28 points in 79 games, and led the team with 175 hits, establishing himself as a physical force with an eye for the net.
In 2007-08, he set career-bests with a team-high 33 goals and 60 points and established a League record (since broken) with 311 hits. He was named captain in 2008 and responded with 24 goals, 58 points and a team-best 285 hits in 2008-09, third-most in the League.
He helped the United States win the silver medal at the 2010 Olympics, and later that season helped the Kings make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2002.
In 2010-11, he posted his fourth straight season of at least 20 goals and 50 points, finished third in the League with 300 hits, had a career-best plus-17 rating (the first time he finished as a plus player), and helped the Kings return to the postseason. He was named the winner of the 2011 NHL Foundation Award, an honor given to the player who best applies the core values of hockey -- commitment, perseverance and teamwork -- to enrich the lives of people in his community.
Among other charitable endeavors, Brown donated $50 for every hit -- a total of $15,000 -- to Children's Hospital Los Angeles' Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit, and continued to work, along with his wife, on his non-profit organization KaBOOM!, which envisions great places to play within walking distance of every child in America.
Brown had an even more rewarding season in 2011-12. He tied for second on the team with 22 goals and was third with 54 points; was a plus-18; and led the team for a seventh straight season in hits with 293, second-most in the League. The Kings snuck into the postseason as the No. 8 seed but then ran roughshod through the playoffs, starting with an upset of the Presidents' Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks, and capped by a Game 6 win against the New Jersey Devils to win the Stanley Cup on home ice.
Brown finished tied for the playoff lead in goals (eight), points (20) and plus/minus (plus-16), and he topped the League in game-winning goals (three, including the series-clincher against the St. Louis Blues in the second round), and hits (93).
For his durability -- Brown has missed 12 games the past eight seasons -- he was the top choice from NHL.com's 13-member Dream Draft panel, finishing ahead of a pair of Stanley Cup champions, Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Daniel Cleary.
"For me, Dustin has been the most consistent performer among all those chosen with the 13th selection," "NHL Live" host E.J. Hradek said. "The Kings' captain leads by example and can change the course of a game by scoring a goal or delivering a big hit. He already has one Stanley Cup on his resume and I feel he's going to be an important part of the franchise's continued success for several years to come."