Lately, it seems like every day I’ve been seeing a new comment from Drew Doughty that makes it seem like he wants to get the fuck out of Los Angeles. First he had mentioned verbatim he doesn’t give a shit where he plays, he just wants to win cups. Then, he publicly supported the firing of former head coach Darryl Sutter, which I guess isn’t necessarily the most concerning thing, but it clearly shows he can feel where this team is heading. Which brings me to what he said most recently which was he would “love” to stay in LA, but only if they’re heading in the right direction.
Drew, I got a spoiler for you, they are probably not going anywhere. Like I just mentioned, there is clear disarray starting from the top of that organization. Having just changed both their HC and the GM, there is going to be some uncertainty in how things will be run going forward. That main core that proved to be so good for the 2 cup runs in 2012 and 2014 is getting up there in age, and with a slew of teams starting to have success with mainly younger talent, particularly in the Pacific, the window for the Kings to compete with this group is appearing to be almost done. If LAK can rebound by avoiding the injury bug and playing like everyone knows they can, then maybe they have another run in them.
I don’t necessarily expect the Kings to blow up the team and start from scratch, because like I said, this group could have another run in them and prove that last year was just a down year. But I can’t emphasize enough how fast the game has caught up to them. Other teams in that division have been making moves to essentially put themselves in great position position for long-term success. I understand that LA had obvious success in years past and had a solid core for a good chunk of years, but again it looks like this time has come to an abrupt ending.
Do I expect the team to actually trade Doughty? As of right now, no. There is still a lot that can unfold from now until the trade deadline this year. However, trading Doughty now could give LA a lot of cap flexibility. The contracts of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Jonathan Quick are going to make things really tough for this team going down the road as the Kings have committed a large quantity of money on these 3 guys, ~$21.7M a year until 2022. Doughty would take $7M off the books alone, while most likely getting a very good return in the process. I really find it hard to believe that a contending team with deficiencies on the blue line would be reluctant to take on the entire contract as you know you’re getting a 27 year-old, Norris caliber defensemen. This is certainly a situation we will monitor on GWTF this season. If you haven’t already, follow us on Twitter @GWTFpodcast and subscribe on iTunes here.