Los Angeles Kings Sign Drew Doughty To Eight-Year Contract Extension

While the Los Angeles Kings have been pretty quiet externally up to this point, they have been making plenty of noise internally over the phone behind the scenes as they have been actively engaged in plenty of conversations with other teams around the league.

It all started back on June 23rd with the signing of veteran Russian sensation and former NHL’er Ilya Kovalchuk to an eight-year deal worth $18.75 million US, making for an AAV of $6.25 million per year.

With that in mind, there has been plenty of talk since with regards to who might not have their deals renewed while they have also been busy on the trade front as goaltender Peter Budaj has returned via trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning who received depth forward Andy Andreoff as the return piece going the other way in exchange.

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Now the team turns their focus to Drew Doughty who’s future with the organization has been in question over the course of the last week due to a busy and active payroll, therefore, leaving questions as to how they could better spend it for a brighter future ahead.

That in mind, it was just four weeks ago during game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Vegas Golden Knights and Washington Capitals that Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet.ca reported that talks between the Kings and Canadian defensemen Drew Doughty were said to be going well, however, no further indications on progress had been made since that point in time.

Given the fact of which no greater developments had been made since then, general manager Rob Blake has been looking elsewhere to fill needs that well suit his summer checklist to put a winning team on the ice for Opening Night in October.

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As one would expect, this of course would mean the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas where the team collectively made some bright selections for the future which include the pickings of both Rasmus Kupari as well as Akil Thomas.

Anyways, back to Doughty now, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic Toronto reported on Thursday morning that the Kings, as expected, had started to get into contract talks with the 28-year-old native of London, Ontario who is currently just one year away from becoming a UFA. LeBrun goes on to mention that they’ve had a few conversations regarding the overall concept of the deal and would soon get into the subject of both term as well as numbers.

Just a matter of hours later, John Shannon of Sportsnet.ca added fuel to the fire when he reported that the average annual value of Doughty’s extension would be worth just shy of $11 million when made official. This would later be followed up in re-iteration by TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger.

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Speaking of which, that would take us a day forward to early Friday evening when the Los Angeles Kings announced that they have agreed to terms with Drew Doughty on an eight-year contract extension that would take the alternate captain through to the conclusion of the Kings 2027 regular season.

It was noted shortly thereafter that Doughty would not be able to sign his new contract until NHL Free Agency on Sunday July 1st at the point in time in which he would be just one year away from hitting the open market had he not come to agreement to stay put in Los Angeles.

In a statement from Rob Blake, who is also the Kings president of hockey operations, he said with regards to the transaction, “Drew Doughty is one of the best defensemen in the world and we are obviously excited to have reached this point in the process in which he has committed to the Kings long-term. This is great news for our organization and our fans and we will comment further once the contract has been signed and formally announced.”

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Perhaps a contract of this magnitude was a no-brainer for Los Angeles given Doughty has been an asset for the club since having made his NHL debut back in 2008. It is also worth making mention of the fact that he was drafted in the same year by the Kings who selected him in the first round (second overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Doughty, who currently weighs in at 6-1, 200-pounds, has hit some pretty amazing feats in his tenure with the Kings. One of the many includes the fact that he has played every game of his NHL career with the Kings, making for a total of 770. He also ranks second on the Kings all-time list among defensemen in goals, assists and points (trailing only Blake in all three categories), and third in games played.

As far as award accomplishments go, Doughty is just the second Kings player (Blake won in 1998) to win the Norris Trophy (league’s best defenseman), as he took home the award in 2016. He has been named to four consecutive NHL All-Star Games as well and is a three-time NHL First Team All Star (2017-18, 2015-16 and 2008-09) and a two-time NHL Second Team All Star (2014-15 and 2009-10).

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Taking a look now at his statistics for the 2017-18 season, Doughty, a two-time Stanley Cup Champion (2012 and 2014), recorded a career-high 60 points (10-50=60) to go alongside a plus-20 rating and 54 penalty minutes while he also skated in all 82 regular season games for the fourth consecutive season (328 consecutive games played, just two games shy of yet another feat in which hew would tie Anze Kopitar’s record for most consecutive games played by a Kings player).

Furthermore, Doughty also tallied a career-high in assists last season while he led the league in TOI/Gm (26:50), and was named to the 2017-18 First All-Star Team. As for his 10-year career as a whole, Doughty has appeared in a total of 770 regular season games while he has recorded 422 points (102-320=422) to go alongside a plus-93 rating and 555 penalty minutes.

Doughty has also appeared in 84 postseason games during his tenure in Los Angeles in which he recorded a total of 51 points (16-35=51) and 66 penalty minutes. He leads the Kings all-time among defensemen in games played, goals, assist, points, and is tied for first in power play goals (6) during the playoffs.

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Taking a deeper look at Doughty’s time in professional hockey, the has also represented Canada on the international stage on multiple occasions including the Olympic Games, the World Juniors as well as the World Cup of Hockey.

Doughty participated in the Olympic Games in both 2010 and 2014 where he won back to back gold medals before the NHL took a step back from allowing players to participate in the most recent games which took place in PyeongChang, South Korea.

As for the World Cup of Hockey, Doughty once again represented his home country back in 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto where he helped lead Canada to the championship in that tournament. This of course would mean defeating Kopitar’s Team Europe in the final. If you take a look back to 2009, he won a silver medal at the World Championships in Switzerland as a 19-year old, just one-year after having led Canada to yet another gold medal at the World Junior Championships.

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As noted by the Kings official team release, this is the second eight-year extension that Doughty has agreed to sign in his career, making for the only Kings player to agree to/sign two contracts of at least eight years with the team as well.

Previously, veteran goaltender Jonathan Quick held the record for the longest contract signed in team-history back in 2012 which was for a total of 10 years. Just a few years later, both right winger Dustin Brown (2013) as well as centreman Kopitar (2016) agreed to terms on eight-year extensions to keep them staying put for the foreseeable future in Los Angeles. They are the only other Kings to agree to contracts of eight-or-more years.

As noted by TSN, Doughty’s new contract has the NHL’s highest average annual value among defencemen, although it could be surpassed by the next contract for Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, whose current contract expires in 2019.

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Back in November of 2017, Doughty, 28, told Craig Custance of The Athletic Detroit that he would discuss numbers with Karlsson to see what he would be seeking in a new contract.

When asked about how the thought came to be of potentially reaching out to the Senators captain to talk numbers, Doughty said to Custance as part of his statement, “I’ve thought about it actually lately, I don’t know why. I kind of just thought about my options and stuff like that. I never know what’s going to happen.”

In continuation, the star defensemen went on to say, “I know I’m going to talk to Karlsson back and forth, kind of see what money he’s looking for. I’ll kind of look at what money I’m looking for. I don’t know if he’s going to re-sign with Ottawa. I don’t know if I’ll re-sign with L.A. You just never know what’s going to happen.”

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In conclusion, Doughty wrapped up saying that he and Karlsson would prefer to sign for more than P.K. Subban‘s $9 million annual salary with the Nashville Predators. To that regard, Doughty said, “Right now, I guess we’d be gauging off what P.K. makes. I think both of us deserve quite a bit more than that.”

Looking at this deal from an outsiders perspective, it makes sense for the Kings to have made a signing such as this given they have a further history of committing themselves to locking up their core of elite veterans. Other men to get long-term deals from the club include Jeff Carter, Alec Martinez and Dion Phaneuf who are all signed on for at least the next three seasons.

Though many thought for a short time thought that he would end up elsewhere such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, it was almost undoubted that Doughty would return to the origin of his beginning at the National Hockey League level as TSN mentions that neither the Kings nor Doughty seriously expected the defenceman to leave his adopted home in free agency next year.

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Doughty and the Kings have only missed the playoffs three times since he entered the league and will look to keep that number relatively low over the next eight years with plenty more in the tank to provide his team another yet chance to make a run at the cup going forward.

It is worth noting that Doughty grew up a Kings fan in southern Ontario and was therefore thrilled when Los Angeles chose him with the second overall pick back in 2008. As seen on a nightly basis both at home and on the road, Doughty has been a big part of the franchise’s success over the past decade and will look to keep that success rolling when his new agreement officially kicks in on Sunday.

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