It’s hard for a guy that’s a Norris Trophy finalist to say he’s a bit unknown, but Drew Doughty fits that category. At 20 years old, he’s in his second season and is one of the best defensemen in the league. Unfortunately, he plays on the west coast, for a team that doesn’t get that much national coverage. He’s one of the key components for the LA Kings that will change that pretty quickly.
- 2008-2009: 81 Games, 6 Goals, 21 Assists
- 2009-2010: 82 Games, 16 Goal, 43 Assists (Norris Trophy Candidate)
After being one of the best young rookies, he made a big leap in his sophomore season. In addition to racking up the offensive numbers, he played better D, improving from a -17 to a +20.
Profile: Drafted 2ndoverall (behind Steve Stamkos) in 2008 by the LA Kings. He moves up quickly through the ranks, and wins at every level. A gold medal the 2008 World Junior Championships, silver in the 2009 World Championships, and gold in the 2010 Olympics. He was an all-star in the ’08 tournament, and named the best defenseman overall. In the Olympics, he was the youngest Canadian in a major tournament featuring to players since Eric Lindros in 1991. Once drafted, he earned a permanent spot with the Kings and made the Young-Stars game during All-Star weekend. At the end of the year, he was named to the All-Rookie Team. In his second year, he finished third in scoring among defensemen, and helped lead the Kings to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. They lost to the Vancouver Canucks in 6 games, but they put up a good fight. With a good, young core, and Drew Doughty at quarterback, Los Angeles has a bright future.
What makes him special?: He is ridiculously calm with the puck, and is very, very smart. Because he plays in LA andI live near Philly, I’ve seen very, very few Kings games. So I looked at a ton of highlights to see what it is that makes him stand out. Normally, a young player in the league is overwhelmed by the speed of the game, and makes mistakes when trying to play the game too quickly. Doughty, on the other hand, never seems to panic. He sees plays developing, and isn’t scared to hold onto the puck. He does’nt have blazing speed, but when he carries the puck up on offense, he positions himself very well, making it hard to take the puck off of him. He’s not afraid to join the rush, and he’s got a pretty accurate shot. He’s got a deceptive spin move similar to Brian Campbell and Bobby Orr. My favorite thing about him, is that he throws hip checks. How often do you see that anymore. He lines people up and just crushes them. Watch and enjoy:
Jersey Worthy?: 100% yes. He’s young, and awesome. He’s been an LA Kings fan since the days of Wayne Gretzky, and playing for them is a dream come true. There’s no way that LA doesn’t lock him up for a long, long time. If your on the fence, get the hell off and go get a #8 Kings jersey.
Hate Factor: Depends whose point of view your looking from. I love a good hip check, but I can see fans getting angry when they see their favorite player getting flipped and landing headfirst on the ice. Imagine Crosby getting his world rocked by Doughty. Do we then outlaw hip checks? I hope not. But in general, Doughty isn’t known as a dirty guy, and he’s probably coveted by every team in the league. As of now, I don’t think he’s very hated.
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