7 Reasons the Los Angeles Kings Signing Drew Doughty Makes Sense
Terms of the deal were not released as of this writing but when splitting up the years, the cap hit will be about $7 million a season.
On the Kings' twitter feed, Doughty is quoted as saying, "I've always wanted to be here. My heart (is with) all the guys in the room, the organization, the fans and everything."
The deal makes Doughty one of the highest paid defensemen in the NHL.
The former second overall selection in the 2008 draft ends all speculation of offer sheets and rumours of trades and could start playing as early as Saturday night in Anaheim for a preseason tilt with the Ducks.
Considering all pros and cons of the contract, here are seven reasons why this contract makes sense for the Kings, as well as Doughty.
Deal Needed to Happen ASAP
Drew Doughty missed the start of training camp as he lobbied for this deal to be done. It effected everyone, including members of the team, who were fighting for a spot.
With Doughty back in the fold, the team can breathe easily as they have a crucial part of the roster that helped them to playoff spots in their last two seasons.
Also, The Hockey News speculates that Doughty forced Kings' GM Dean Lombardi to show his hand and raise his offer to avoid Doughty missing out on the teams season openers in Stockholm against the New York Rangers and in Berlin against the Buffalo Sabres.
Any way you cut it, this deal needed to happen for one reason...
Doughty Is a Mainstay on the Blue Line
As a draft pick of the Kings, big things were expected of the young Doughty and he has produced with 33 goals and 93 assists over his first three years in the NHL.
Along with Jack Johnson, Doughty is a big part of Lombardi's plan on the back end.
With both of those young guns on the blue line, the Kings are set for top level defenders for a while to come.
When you think of Doughty, you think Los Angeles and if Lombardi gets his way and Doughty continues to get better and better, he will be as synonymous with the Kings as Martin Brodeur is with the New Jersey Devils.
Losing Doughty May Have Cost Lombardi His Job
The pressure was mounting for Dean Lombardi to make a deal and not allow it to break him at the bank.
Lombardi was a little reluctant at signing his All-Star defender to a big contract but it needed to be done.
He made some big moves this summer, notably with the Philadelphia Flyers, trading away top prospect Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds to acquire the services of Mike Richards.
Richards provides leadership on the front end and could fill the role that Schenn probably would have filled down the line.
Lombardi is capable of making the big moves and this season will be a test on what those big moves will bring.
Will we see the same result as last year or could the Kings be in line to win the West for the first time since 1993?
Keeping Doughty and making him a mainstay with the eight-year deal is definitely a good move on Lombardi's part because losing a star of his caliber, combined with a fall from grace with a worst case scenario happening (tons of new players not meshing, losing two of your last four first round picks) puts this GM on thin ice.
Only the future can tell what will happen.
Former Norris Candidate Is Worth the Cash
Doughty is a former Norris Trophy finalist and although his production fell last season, he is still one of the top defensemen in the NHL today.
When you look at some of the top players in the game, $7 million a year is definitely deserving of a guy with the skill that Doughty brings.
It's not exactly Crosby money but there is one player that Doughty has been comparing himself to and he is...
All summer, we waited for Shea Weber's arbitration hearing. He came away with $7.5 million and the Kings came away with a huge decision to make.
Is Doughty worth that kind of cash? Originally, the Kings offered the 21-year-old a nine-year, $61.2 million contract but Doughty declined it. This would have put him right under Anze Kopitar as the second highest paid player on the Kings' roster.
That didn't happen and Doughty held out for more money.
At $7 million, Doughty's contract is comparable to Weber's deal but Weber will have to prove he is worth it with his one-year arbitration contract while Doughty has nine-years to prove it.
In the end, we got what was expected, for Doughty and Weber to get paid around the same amount of cash.
Highest Paid King
You want Drew Doughty to feel like an important part of this hockey team, you show him the money.
That is what Dean Lombardi did and he made Doughty the highest paid member of the Kings roster. At $7 million, Doughty's cap hit will be more than Anze Kopitar's $6.8 million cap hit.
Jack Johnson took a seven-year deal that starts this upcoming season, and when compared to Doughty's deal, make these two young stars the go-to players on defense for the foreseeable future.
The highest paid King has experience and could be captain one day, unless they choose Mike Richards but one thing is for sure, Doughty is the highest paid player on the roster and it makes sense that he is the future of the club.
Now, he has to prove it and it starts with a good trip overseas.
Kings Have Good Cap Management, Long-Term Deal Doesn't Hurt Them
On the management side of things, making this deal long term makes sense in terms of locking up their future and not letting it hurt them in the long run.
This deal puts the Kings right near the cap ceiling of $64.3 million but when you look down the road a few seasons, Lombardi's spending is well calculated.
He has about $15 million to spend on players next season (barring an increase/decrease of cap room) and looking ahead to 2014-15, he has five players under contract. Players that he sees as the core of the team. That includes Justin Williams, Mike Richards, Anze Kopitar, Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty. These players are great building blocks for the future and are worth a combined $27.5 million a season.
The Doughty deal may have been pricey for Lombardi to spend on, but the money makes sense to spend on a remarkable player that has the potential to be the best blue liner in the league for years to come.
What do you think?