NHL Free Agent News: 5 Ways the Drew Doughty Free Agency Scenario Could Play out
One of the league's best defensemen is still unsigned, despite the offseason being more than two months underway.
Drew Doughty, a finalist for the 2010 Norris Trophy, is a restricted free agent seeking a new contract. The team and player have yet to figure out a solution.
Signs with Kings Under Their Conditions
According to Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times, the Kings reportedly offered a contract averaging $6.5 million over nine years.
Now 21, Doughty would be 30 years old when that deal ends.
He and his agent Don Meehan likely want a shorter or more lucrative contract.
Signs with Kings Under His Conditions
When Doughty needs a new contract again later in his career, a 27 or 28-year-old would be able to cash in on a larger contract than a 30-year-old.
Additionally, Doughty is arguably worth more than $6.5 million per year. The five other Norris-nominated defensemen over the past two years are Nicklas Lidstrom, Shea Weber, Zdeno Chara, Duncan Keith and Mike Green.
According to CapGeek.com, Lidstrom's contract is worth $6.2 million per year, Weber $7.5 million, Chara $6.9 million, Keith $5.5 million and Green $5.2 million.
An average $6.5 million salary for the 21-year-old Doughty would pay him just $300,000 more than the 41-year-old Lidstrom.
It is $1.3 million less than Weber's contract, despite Weber being four years older.
Keith's career-long contract brings down his average salary. He is making an average of $7.53 million until age 35, plus he is earning an additional $7.5 million through signing bonuses.
Green's relatively small contract was signed two years before he was a Norris-nominated defenseman.
Looking at these totals, it is not hard to believe Doughty could draw much more than $6.5 million for nine years.
Meehan knows this, which is probably why he isn't accepting the Kings' small offers for Doughty.
When Shea Weber could not make the Nashville Predators pay him enough, the two parties needed an arbitrator to decide upon the correct amount.
Since Doughty is coming off his entry-level contract, he needs four years of experience to be eligible for arbitration. He does not, so Los Angeles cannot take him to arbitration.
The agreement will need to be made between the team and player.
If the two sides split between their desired contracts, Doughty would be signed for a contract similar to $7-7.5 million over seven to eight years.
If Doughty and the Kings cannot agree on a long-term contract, a one-year deal would be easier to negotiate.
This would allow the two parties to try again next summer, when arbitration would be an option.
Sign and Trade
This is an unlikely situation.
Even if the Kings have to pay more than desired, the team has plenty enough cap space to keep Doughty.
However, if negotiations turn completely sour and the team cannot come to terms with Doughty, moving him would be their best option.
Players have held out for entire seasons before; Eric Lindros did it in 2000-01. If Doughty were to do the same, Los Angeles would either have to give him the contract he desires or trade him to a team that would.