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Under Pressure: Drew Doughty

Sep 25, 2013, 5:49 PM EDT

DrewDoughty

“Under Pressure” is a preseason series we’ll be running on PHT. For each team in the NHL, we’ll pick one player, coach, GM, mascot or whatever that everyone will be watching closely this season. Feel free to play the song as you read along. Also feel free to go to the comment section and tell us we picked poorly.

For the Los Angeles Kings, we pick… defenseman Drew Doughty.

First, let’s be perfectly clear — there might not be a team under less pressure than the L.A. Kings, and there’s nothing wrong with the way Doughty played last year. The 23-year-old logged the third-most minutes in the NHL, finished second on the Kings in d-man scoring and finished ninth in Norris Trophy voting. By most player’s standards, that’s a pretty solid campaign.

But Doughty isn’t most players.

He set expectations sky high during his sophomore campaign in 2009-10. Doughty scored a career-best 59 points, earned a spot on the NHL’s second All-Star team and was a Norris finalist.

Offensively speaking, Los Angeles needs him to get back to that level.

The Kings admitted 2013 was something of a letdown campaign, even though they made it to the Western Conference final. Doughty lamented the lack of offense (2.06 goals per game) in the playoffs — “we’re not scoring more than two goals a game, we’re only getting a few, and that’s why we’re losing,” he said — and captain Dustin Brown said he felt like they left something on the table.

“We didn’t play up to our potential and we made it the Western Conference Final,” he told NHL.com. “I don’t think that’s a surprise, but in a roundabout way it’s a positive out of a negative.

“We were one of the final four teams and I don’t think we played anywhere near to our potential.”

So, back to Doughty.

He’ll be under pressure to up his production — a tall order considering how well he played last year, but appropriate given he’s the club’s highest-paid player at $7 million a season.

To do that, he’ll need to reverse his downward scoring trend. Since averaging 0.72 points per game during his stellar ’09-10 season, Doughty has seen that average drop to 0.53 (2010-11), 0.47 (2011-12) and 0.46 (2013).

Last season also marked just the second time in four years Doughty didn’t lead the Kings in d-man scoring. That went to Slava Voynov, who finished with 25 points.

There’s also pressure on a larger scale. Doughty’s Kings are determined to get back to the Stanley Cup final, and he’s all but assured of a spot on Team Canada’s Olympic team for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. So in addition to re-capturing Lord Stanley’s mug, he’s also going to be responsible for defending Olympic gold.

  1. imleftcoast - Sep 25, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    I’m not a Kings or Doughty fan, but seems like a dumb pick. Doughty was a key to the Kings winning the Cup. Trevor Lewis probably has something to prove, and he’d want to make the US Olympic team. Willie Mitchell needs to come back.

  2. lowenni - Sep 25, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    How is doughty under pressure? He may have not put up his usual point totals last year, but he was fantastic defensively and is one of the best defenseman in the league. I would say the pressure is on Jonathan Quick, who had a really rough regular season (although a great playoff), because he wasn’t consistent last year and he’s the true key to the Kings making the finals.

    • lowenni - Sep 25, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      I think that saying Doughty is under pressure because of his point production slipping is like saying Duncan Keith should be under pressure in Chicago. Keith isn’t going to ever score 69 points again, but he’s still a fantastic defenseman. Same can be said for Doughty (although he is probably still capable of hitting 50+ points).

  3. thailer35 - Sep 25, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    His tackles count also went down last year.

    See 2012 WCF, Shane Doan.

  4. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Sep 25, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    I don’t think Doughty OR Quick should be under pressure. Keeping the puck out of the net is their job and they do it pretty well.

    Offense has been LA’s weak point. The pressure should be on guys like Kopitar, Richards, Carter who’ve had big offensive years in the past.

  5. slysipops - Sep 25, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    to my pal BLOMFELD ……. ENJOY ! MAYBE DREW IS SAYIN’ THIS ?www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Kb2x0D584c

    • blomfeld - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      “Now look, there’s LA Kings down that road ‘thick as fleas’ not two hours ride from this here very spot ! … and that by God is the Lord’s truth!” … great song friend :)

      • slysipops - Sep 26, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        glad you liked the song pal. and i do think drew has a lot more than one more silver dollar or chance in the tank !

  6. surfoside4life - Sep 25, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    As a Kings fan I’ve noticed that Doughty seems to be very hesitant with his shot. I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen him with grade A chances to take a shot but he holds the puck too long and either passes it or his shot ends up getting blocked. I’m almost positive he led the league in getting his shots blocked. I understand he’s waiting for traffic but sometimes you gotta pull the trigger when you got the chance. Trust your shot.

  7. bauxjangles - Sep 25, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    I’ve been saying this the entire time last season. Also, without Scuderi there to clean up Doughty’s messes, he has even more to prove. He isn’t, by any means, a terrible player but if his contract had ended last year, he wouldn’t have been resigned for $7 million.

  8. blomfeld - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    BACK OFF HALFORD … SERIOUSLY !

    As an ardent, sexy and values-driven ’54 year old’ supporter of the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings, I for one can tell you that this is probably the most ‘idiotic’ editorial piece that I’ve read since that Bear Sterns 2008 prospectus ! At the very minimum, both Halford and anyone within 100 feet of him should be ‘forcibly’ ushered outside right now and have some sense ‘beaten’ into to them ! The bottom line friends is that Drew Doughty is today’s Bobby Orr and anyone who takes issue with that is a ‘fool’ who’s destined for nothing less than recycling, God willing …

    *** Halford’s PHT stories are now like Houses of Sand ! ***

    • slysipops - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:01 PM

      gentlemen, we all owe a debt of gratitude to BLOMFELD and his bringing of humor to this site! his unique way of matching a video, to speak his thoughts and words about matters on these blogs ,and couple it to the humor sometime needed is to be commended ! we are all fans of one team or another. sometimes our teams of choice do well…and sometimes they don’t do so well. i personally have gone through many years of frustration with my choice team the BLACKHAWKS.although we do enjoy jibing each other let us all remember each will have his day in the sun, and probably more in the rain clouds.in the end we all should remeber that it is only a sporting event, and only the players and coaches get paid to do it!so hats off and a tip of the glasses for BLOMFELD !!

      • blomfeld - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:37 PM

        NOW HEAR THIS ! … SLYSIPOPS = QUALITY … SAY AGAIN, SLYSIPOPS = QUALITY !

        Thank you friend and praise be. As far as I’m concerned, the key to all human engagement must always be an unwavering ‘desire’ for the betterment. Same thing applies with our relationship to animals, plants, family, lovers, general everyday problems or even the planet itself. Let us close rank and always create joy in the face of the ‘omnipresent” darkness which surrounds us.

        *** Special ‘executive’ video selection for comrade Slysipops ***

  9. kingsforever - Sep 26, 2013 at 2:21 AM

    I don’t understand how Kopitar wasn’t selected or Quick

    • bauxjangles - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      Because Doughty is the Kings’ highest paid player. And he has been in a downward spiral since he was resigned.

  10. joey4id - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    One can argue that an other player from the Kings could have chosen for this series of articles. However, going by the numbers, this is not a bad choice. Besides, finishing 9th in the norris trophy voting is nothing to brag about. On the other hand, he’s only 23 yrs old, and a ton of talent. So, yeah! He needs to step up his game and play like the highest paid player that he is. Sorry! Blomfeld! :-) He needs to have a top three Norris trophy candidate sort of year. This season should be the bridge year to greatness.

    • blomfeld - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      “Hold your fire men ! … say again … hold your fire”

      Joey – It’s okay friend, as what you say is true enough. But please remember that we were without Mitchell and Greene for almost the entire year and so Drew was subsequently ‘obliged’ to play more defensively in-order to cover for their absence. And of course Quick wasn’t feeling 100% either, coming off that back surgery in September. So again Drew was compelled to stay back and not abandon his comrade.

      This year however is going to be a ‘completely’ different story! Everyone is back in the line-up and they’re all healthy. And given our team’s new battle plan of ‘scoring and scoring often’ I can now see Drew going ‘berserk’ on offense and quite possibly breaking the century mark in terms of points! :)

  11. joey4id - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Fair enough. Let’s hope everyone stays healthy and he can put up the numbers expected and play very good D. You know, it’s about balance. He doesn’t have to be a Norris trophy winner. Like I wrote previously top 3 D would be a very good accomplishment for a 23 yr old.

  12. slysipops - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    BOYS …BOYS , don’t climb so far up the hope ladder of Dmen…the fall is just so much worse! remember all the kings have to do is get to the top of the tallest blg. in LA and peer northeast, towards the epitomy of defense ….. possiby the top 5 Dmen of the league on a bench at the UNITED CENTER !

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