28-Year-Old Defenseman – Los Angeles Kings
Drew Doughty Contract Information:
Signed an eight-year, $56 million contract extension with the Kings in September 2011.
Doughty passed the league's concussion protocol and returned to Tuesday's game against the Oilers, Jon Rosen of Fox Sports West reports.
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Drew Doughty: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Up until last season, it had been quite a few years since Doughty’s stats had kept up with his billing as one of the game’s top blueliners; he hit 50 points for the first time since way back in 2009-10, with a career-best plus-24 rating serving as a tasty side dish. Still only 26 years old, Doughty ought to offer fantasy owners more of the same over the next several seasons while playing for a Kings team with strong top-line scoring that relies on him heavily in all situations. Indeed, Doughty’s been one of the most-used players in the NHL, particularly over the past two campaigns (29:00 and 28:01 of average ice time), and the durable two-way blueliner should continue enjoying heavy minutes for years to come. He may not post the sort of high-end point totals that we get from the league’s elite offensive defensemen, but Doughty offers one of the most well-rounded fantasy lines you’ll see.
Doughty backed off a bit from the double-digit goal scoring he'd churned out over the past few years, but it didn't qualify him as a fantasy disappointment last season. One of the top two-way defensemen in all of hockey, Doughty atoned for his low total of seven goals by adding 39 assists, which was tied for fifth among Western Conference blueliners. The 25-year-old's biggest strength is his durability and fitness, as he averaged 29 minutes of ice time last season, just four seconds off the league lead. After finishing second in Norris Trophy voting, Doughty is one of if not the most valuable players in all of hockey and a lock to be one of the top defensemen chosen in your league’s draft.
Doughty led the Los Angeles blue line with 10 goals and 27 assists, but it still left a bunch of his fantasy owners screaming for more. After all, that was just good enough for a tie for 29th in points among fellow rearguards. It's pretty clear that his 59-point effort (thanks to 31 points on the power play) back in 2009-10 was his high-water mark offensively, as he's failed to top 40 points in each season since then. He's still the Kings' No. 1 defenseman, but at this point his reputation likely exceeds his fantasy production. Don’t overrate.
Doughty had another fine season (six goals, 16 assists in 48 games), but still disappointed most fantasy owners who were banking on more. Right now, his breakout season in 2009-10 (16 goals, 43 assists, nine power-play goals, 22 power-play assists) seems more like an outlier than a sign of things to come. And he's really going to have to do more damage on the power play if he's to approach that kind of production again. It remains to be seen if the emergence of Slava Voynov as another power play threat will open things up a bit for Doughty or further reduce his role with the man advantage.
Doughty, perhaps more than any player on the Kings, seemed to benefit the most from the midseason coaching change as he was a totally different player under Darryl Sutter and could have taken home Conn Smythe honors if Jonathan Quick hadn't stolen the show in the postseason. Factor in a contract dispute that wiped out his training camp and it's easy to find excuses for his slow start that resulted in his lowest goals (10) and points (36) since his rookie season. A bounceback season would seem to be on the horizon.
Doughty took a bit of a step back (11 G, 29 A) from his breakout season of 2009-10 (16 G, 43 A) in large part due to a lack of production on the power play (15 points last year compared with 31 from the previous year). He'll continue to log heavy minutes on the Kings' blue line and will remain a fixture on their top power-play unit so a return to his 2009-10 season isn't out of the question if the Kings' power play clicks.
Doughty led the Kings' blueline in goals (16) and was second on the team with points (59), trailing only Anze Kopitar. He did most of his damage on the power play (9PPG, 22 PPA) but still managed a plus-20 rating, as well. He's already among the elite defensemen in the league and will turn 21 in December. He'll be among the top five in blueline scoring again this year.
Doughty enjoyed a pretty effective rookie campaign, racking up 27 points in 81 games while logging more than 20 minutes of ice time on a nightly basis. The addition of Rob Scuderi may help Doughty take the shackles off his offensive game and he should improve on last year's totals if he can avoid the sophomore slump.
Doughty enters training camp with a lot of intrique around him. He's a franchise-type of defensemen with some offensive skill and the Kings could certainly use some help on their blueline. He's worth keeping an eye on in keeper leagues but his offensive game will likely take a few years to develop.