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Sutter: Doughty still has a long way to go to reach his potential

Jun 6, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

Drew Doughty Getty Images

At the age of 24, Drew Doughty can be trusted with more than 25 minutes per game in the regular season and over 27 minutes in the playoffs. He’s established himself as a cornerstone of one of the most successful franchises in recent history and is a Conn Smythe Trophy candidate.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter doesn’t think Doughty has even come close to reaching his peak though.

“When you do all the analytics on athletes, he’s a long ways from being as good as he’s going to be, just because of his age,” Sutter said, per LA Kings Insider.

What does Sutter see Doughty improving on in the future? Basically every aspect of the game.

“You learn to manage your ice time better,” he said, “you learn to manage what’s going on on the ice, you become a better shot selection guy, you become a better penalty killer, you become a better power play guy, you learn the league better, you learn players on the other team better, you learn nuances of star players, you learn to handle the schedule better in terms of your practice habits and your nutrition and what you do on game days, all that stuff.

“What can you do better? As I said, there’s a big difference between being 25 and 35.”

Doughty is fighting for his second Stanley Cup championship to go along with his two Olympic gold medals. His accomplishments don’t include winning the Norris Trophy yet, but that might change in the coming years.


Winning a double-edged sword for Doughty, who ‘for sure’ misses his anonymity

  1. thegronk87 - Jun 6, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    Beat player in the world

    • billiam55 - Jun 6, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      one of the best.

  2. lowenni - Jun 6, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    I don’t think this guys been the best player in the playoffs like everyone is saying, but he’s definitely top-3 or 4. It’s scary thinking he’s so young. It’s just amazing to watch his combination of skill, speed, and most importantly smarts. He’s going to be absolutely dominant within a few years (if he isn’t already). I called him winning the Norris this year but he doesn’t put up enough offensive numbers in LA, because of the system, not his ability. And that’s okay. Absolutely fantastic player, and humble too.

    • joey4id - Jun 6, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      “I don’t think this guys been the best player in the playoffs like everyone is saying”

      He hasn’t been the best player, and I haven’t heard anyone mention him to win the Conn Smythe except for JY here on PHT.

      • doknyc - Jun 6, 2014 at 10:45 AM

        best comment ive ever read from you joey 😉

        quality player though, scary good at times…

      • nyking1963 - Jun 6, 2014 at 10:54 AM

        He has certainly been the best player in the playoffs.
        I’m not sure what you guys have been watching. he’s been playing close to 30 min a night matched up against the best of the best…Thornton, Pavelski with SJ…Getzlaf, Perry with Anaheim and Toews, Kane with Chicago. He also plays PP and PK and has been a difference maker in all 3 zones.
        Please tell me who has been more dominant than him in the playoffs this year?
        As for nobody mentioning him for Conn Smythe…every “expert” from NBC as well as NHL Network…If the Kings win.

      • bmy0913 - Jun 6, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        Agreed. Although, I have to give dude credit, that between the legs chip and drag was nasty. I still think it was a soft goal, Lundqvist should have had that one, but the move to get the shot on net was gorgeous.

      • dollasnsense - Jun 6, 2014 at 11:58 AM


        The “best player in the playoffs” wouldn’t dance with the puck at the blue line and give up a breakaway opportunity (which turned into a goal) after getting stripped. I believe this has happened twice now to Doughty in these playoffs.

        Who has been more dominant? That’s easy, Anze Kopitar. Leads the league in points, only trails teammate Jaret Stoll in faceoffs won and faceoff win % for remaining players in playoffs, AND covers the #1 center night in night out, playing Selke quality defense.

        Sutter is absolutely right. Doughty is a top-5 defenseman, no doubt. Best? Not yet. Duncan Keith and Doughty are essentially equals on offense (perhaps Doughty is slightly, SLIGHTLY, better) but Keith has the edge in defense and his defensive decision-making. And it’s pretty easy to explain why… Keith is simply older and more experienced. But like Sutter said, a little more seasoning and there’s no doubt Doughty can be the best defenseman in the league.

    • habs9 - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:08 PM

      @Dollasnsense: it’s because he isn’t PK Subban, if he was those giveaways would be the only thing anyone talks about, but since it’s Drew it’s all good, he’s the best D in the league etc….good old nhl ….

      • habs9 - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        And don’t get me wrong I love watching Doughty play like the next fan, it’s just hilarious to see these headlines/comments etc….pretty much you can always apply everything to Subban, yet when it’s him the title of blogs and comments is somehow drastically different…..for example Drews only 24 he’s gonna get so much better….but in the case of PK…somehow ppl seem to come to the conclusion that he’s not only not gonna get even better…but seemingly he’s doomed to turn into mike green…and there’s never anything to base it on lol……

        Ok rant done, the Hans aren’t in the final so it’s not about PK or my team

        Go…whoever go

      • dollasnsense - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        Haha habs, as I was writing that last paragraph, I was thinking to myself “replace Sutter with Therrien and Doughty with Subban and the comment still makes sense.” Both are tremendous on the blue line but both tend to try and do too much offensively at times. But there’s absolutely no denying both are elite young talents and will be terrors for their respective teams and Canada for years and years.

  3. 34defense2014 - Jun 6, 2014 at 10:32 AM


    • robocop3999 - Jun 6, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      Keith and Doughty are the top 2 dmen in the NHL.

      • habs9 - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:17 PM

        First you have to explain how Doughty’s better than Weber….try to be convincing at least

  4. blomfeld - Jun 6, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    What’s happened to Coach Sutter ? …

    “You learn to manage your ice time better,” he said, “you learn to manage what’s going on on the ice, you become a better shot selection guy, you become a better penalty killer, you become a better power play guy, you learn the league better, you learn players on the other team better, you learn nuances of star players, you learn to handle the schedule better in terms of your practice habits and your nutrition and what you do on game days, all that stuff” …

    Friends, that has to be the longest statement we’ve ever heard from our glorious coach eh ? :)

    ps: I wasn’t aware that Darryl Sutter suffered a ‘horrific’ injury as a player with the Chicago Blackhawks and that some of his ‘folksy’ mannerisms and grimaces today are a result of permanent damage sustained from such injury.

    • nyking1963 - Jun 6, 2014 at 11:28 AM

      I wasn’t aware of that either.
      he’s a very smart man. He was offered a scholarship to an Ivy League school.

  5. jjl9999 - Jun 6, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    Yeah, and the reason he won’t reach that potential is because he is lazy. Comparing the playoffs and Olympics to the regular season, seems like doesn’t try often enough.

    • nyking1963 - Jun 6, 2014 at 12:30 PM

      that’s beyond ridiculous. He shows up every night ready to play and gives his all every night. If you watch Kings games on a regular basis, you would know that.
      You don’t end up +17 during the regular season and +4 in the playoffs by being lazy..especially when you’re matched up against the other teams best players every shift for 30 minutes.

      • dolphanphan - Jun 6, 2014 at 2:27 PM

        Only +4 after 22 games is awful. Don’t brag about that stat!

    • dannymac17 - Jun 6, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      I dont get where you are saying hes Lazy.

  6. nyking1963 - Jun 6, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    I thought this was about who’s the best player in the playoffs…He outplayed Duncan Keith in the Chicago series. I agree with you about experience being the biggest difference between the 2 although Doughty has gotten a ton of experience with stanley cup and international experience. Over time he’ll only get better. How greart he’ll be? Who knows but it’ll be fun watching
    As for Kopi..Tough call. He certainly was hands down the MVP in the SJ and Anaheim series. He was tremendous defensively in the Chicago series going against Toews, but he wasn’t the offensive force the way he was in the first 2 series. With the Kings secondary scoring going wild, he didn’t need to be the best offensive player. I’ll never say anything negative about Kopi…I would rank him as the 3rd best forward in the NHL only behind Crosby and Toews and the gap has closed significantly..He’s a complete 200 ft player.
    I didn’t think he had a very good game 1 in this series..I expect that to change though. Faceoffs were a problem but he wasn’t getting much help from the wingers on draws.

    • dollasnsense - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      I’m not quite sure how you quantify one D-man outplaying an opposing D-man since they don’t really go head to head against each other. Doughty certainly had more points than Keith (7 to 3) as well as more ATOI (28:42 to Keith’s 27:34, which is essentially only 1 more shift per game) but Doughty had a -2 rating for the series compared to Keith’s +2 and also drew 3 more penalties (Doughty’s 4 to Keith’s 1). Again, not sure how to determine if a D-man on 1 team outplayed a D-man on the other. I personally thought, collectively, they both played a fantastic series.

      How great will Doughty be? I think you would most certainly agree that if someone were to say “he’s quickly becoming the next Duncan Keith”, that would not only be an accurate statement but also very high praise for Doughty, considering there were NHL experts earlier in the playoffs stating Keith could be the next Lidstrom if he continues playing at such a high level throughout the reminder of his contract. Not a bad player to draw comparisons from by any means. And who knows, with the experience he’ll gain over the next few years, he could become even better than Keith. I live in SoCal and am definitely excited to watch Doughty’s development!

      • nyking1963 - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:58 PM

        You can’t quantify it number-wise..It’s the eye test…I’ve watched just about every game Doughty’s played since coming into the league. Same with Kopitar. They do things that won’t show up on the scoresheet. Unless you watch their games, people will never know how great they really are.
        I won’t take anything away from Keith, but he didn’t have a very good series against LA…Same with his partner Seabrooke.
        Patrick Kane had a couple of great games in that series, but for the most part, Doughty and Co shut him down in the majority of the games. Same with Toews, Hossa, and Sharp. Those guys are going to ge their goals, but they didn’t do enough to win the series.
        A big reason for that was the play of Doughty and others as well.

  7. dolphanphan - Jun 6, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    Are the Kings still in the league?

  8. nyking1963 - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    “Only +4 after 22 games is awful. Don’t brag about that stat!”
    welcome to the sport of hockey. watch the games before making silly comments.
    The guys i mentioned that he goes up against every shift are going to get their goals as well. They’re all potential hall of fame players. I guess you didn’t know that.

  9. nyking1963 - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    “Are the Kings still in the league?”

    Yes they are…the other teams aren’t in their league!

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