Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown didn't get his groove back overnight.

It only seemed that way.

Brown will tell you that his first inkling that things could be different this season came in the summer when he met with John Stevens, who had been promoted from assistant to coach, replacing Darryl Sutter.

"We had a good long talk about a lot of things, a lot of different topics," Brown said Thursday. "He expected me to be a big part of this team. Like I've said, I always felt I could take more on and he's given me the opportunity."

Brown recognized the new opportunity and embraced the challenge, and has played a far more significant role for the Kings than in recent seasons.

Call it a rebirth or a recasting of his role, but Brown's transformation from bottom-six forward back to core piece is one of the more unexpected stories in the League during the first quarter of the season.

Brown is gratified by the trust Stevens has shown in him. That includes making good on a promise to reunite him on a line with center Anze Kopitar, and the addition of rookie Alex Iafallo to the line has added a savvy puck protector.

"We have a good dialogue," Brown said of Stevens. "I know what he wants from me pretty clearly. And he's also putting me in situations … when you're playing on the first power play and 20 minutes a night, you should be producing."

Brown is second on the Kings with 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 19 games. He's halfway to the 36 points he had in 80 games last season.