Drew Doughty: 5 Reasons LA Kings Defenseman Is the Real Deal
After the L.A. Kings and their star defenseman (finally) came to an agreement on a long-term deal this past week, many critics began to voice their opinions of why Drew Doughty is not a $56 million player.
I beg to differ.
Doughty is an incredible player, one that the Kings were right to lock down for as long as they could—regardless of the cap hit. I think he's worth every penny.
I'm going to break down why you should believe the hype surrounding the young Canadian blueliner and why paying him almost as much as Stanley Cup-winning captain Zdeno Chara can be justified. Let's see why.
A Major Investment in the Future of Kings Hockey
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Sometimes it's tough to gauge the worth of a high-priced defenseman by looking just at his stats, but Doughty really has shined early on.
After three years in his career, Doughty has racked up 126 total points, 56 more than Shea Weber after three years and 106 more than Chara put up in the same amount of time.
Not only has Doughty managed to put up impressive numbers, he has also been rather consistent throughout his short career. Following a decent 27-point rookie campaign with 59 points and then hitting 40 in his third year shows that Doughty is capable of helping offensively as well as defensively.
Any team could use a solid blueliner with great offensive skills, and this signing ensures that L.A. can check that off its list for nearly a decade.
Leaders Don't Come Cheap, but They're Worth It
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At the tender age of 21, Doughty finished last season in fifth for total ice time per game in the NHL. The next highest Kings player was Jack Johnson at 33rd.
Doughty is a tremendous leader, and even in the third year of his career, he managed to take on a huge role in the Kings lineup and earned every second of the ice time he received.
While Anze Kopitar or Dustin Brown may be the offensive force on the Kings roster, Doughty is quickly becoming the go-to player and face of the organization. He has matured in the league seemingly faster than others, and the Kings are right to reward the player who worked the hardest for them this past year.
As the Old Saying Goes, Defense Wins Games
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While they do possess other key components, many of the top teams in the NHL have one thing in common—all-star defensemen.
If the Kings wanted to allow their new free-agent signings to really mean something, they had to make sure their No. 1 defender was also on board for the ride. What's the point of picking up a player like Mike Richards if he has no defense behind him?
Having an all-star defensive lineup is an important (if not the most important) part of putting together a Stanley Cup team, and the Kings realized Doughty's importance. He will be the guy to lead the Kings deep into the playoffs, and with him signed, the organization can relax about its defensive situation.
Doughty is L.A.'s defense, and he is helping the Kings win games. What more could they want?
Doughty Does Special Teams Too
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Among defenders, Doughty ranked top-20 in power play points and top-10 in game-winning goals—meaning, he not only scores, but scores in the clutch as well.
Doughty seemingly does it all, and he also is just barely scratching the surface of his talent. Being able to play 25 minutes a game and still score on the power play and late in games is a huge feat for the young defenseman.
If he keeps improving on these aspects of his game, he will quickly be considered one of the greatest ever.
Did I Mention He's Only 22?
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Sure, his numbers are great, but Doughty is (very) quickly becoming one of the best defenders in the game. He is an outstanding player and leader for the Kings and gets it done on a nightly basis.
The Kings were right to give Doughty a big jackpot because of how amazing he is at such a young age. Doughty is the future of the Kings, and if he keeps improving, it will be a very bright future in Los Angeles.
It sometimes seems like he is too young to be this good, and the Kings deserve major props for managing to come to an agreement with Doughty and lock him down for a long time.
He's really, really young to be so good, and with at least another 15 solid years in him Doughty is a steal at $56 million. Don't believe it? Start tuning in to Kings games this season.