While everyone is focused on Steve Stamkos and his ongoing restricted free agent contract talks in Tampa Bay, there’s another premiere restricted free agent making his team sweat things out. Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty is tied in negotiations with Kings GM Dean Lombardi about just what he’s going to do about keeping him long term.
Doughty was a Norris Trophy finalist in 2010 and at age 21 going on 22, he’s got a long and illustrious career staring him in the face. It’s a career that could see him rank out as one of the top five defensemen in the league for the next ten years at least. While his 2010 season was outstanding, his 2011 saw him come back to earth a bit. While he was still good, he wasn’t great and the kind of deal he’s looking for from the Kings is a career-changing offer.
The Los Angeles Times’ Fabulous Forum finds out from Lombardi that the process of getting Doughty signed won’t be a quick one.
“I am getting the feeling on Drew that unfortunately this could take a while. As we just saw this past week free agency produces a frenzy for players at all levels. We must be judicious about not getting into this market for our own players. Therefore it is critical with Drew that the dollars reflect a fair rate of return regarding the term of the contract. We must be prepared to do what it takes to get it right.”
Lombardi also said the Kings would match any offer sheet Doughty might sign with another team. It’s unlikely any team would make an offer of a magnitude that would entice Doughty away, because paying him that much money would leave that team little room to pay the support players necessary to build a winner. Also, Doughty grew up a Kings fan.
The helpful part of being a restricted free agent is that there’s no real timeline aside from the start of training camp or the season to get a deal done by. With opposing teams reluctant to push the issue and sign those players to offer sheets, teams owning their rights aren’t threatened to move faster to get a deal done. The Kings have enough cap space to not be scared by potential poaching and that’s why you’ve got things dragging out now. Dragging out being relative term here.
While the chances are slim that Doughty will get poached by another team with an offer sheet, getting the deal done and done right is important for both sides, especially the Kings. Signing him up to a potential cap-crippling deal does no one any favors. Dean Lombardi’s done things smart before and they’ll get things right with Doughty, just don’t go holding your breath over it.
Mike Ribeiro isn’t playing in Game 3 for the Nashville Predators against the San Jose Sharks, and it doesn’t appear to be for health reasons.
Well, his production hasn’t been very healthy.
The polarizing playmaker has only mustered a single assist and zero goals in nine playoff games; Ribeiro hasn’t scored a point against the Sharks so far.
Ribeiro isn’t exactly known for his offensive acumen, either, so there’s not much motivation to keep him in the lineup if he isn’t producing offense. Ultimately, it’s easy to see why he’s a healthy scratch.
Pontus Aberg looks to make his NHL debut via this big playoff game while Craig Smith is believed to play.
It should be interesting to see how Nashville responds to this challenge.
The Nashville Predators hope to get back in their series now that the San Jose Sharks are visiting “Smashville.” Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars and Blues jostle for a 2-1 lead in St. Louis.
You can keep up with Game 3 of the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders (which is in progress) right here and on NBCSN.
Game 3 of Sharks – Predators is on USA Network and can be streamed via the link below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Finally, Game 3 of Stars – Blues airs on NBCSN. Keep an eye out for notes if there’s overlap with Bolts – Isles (which would bump it temporarily to NHL Network), but either way, you can stream the action below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Jonathan Drouin‘s strong playoff play has been a big story for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but his health is in question after taking a huge hit on Tuesday.
As you can see from the video above, Drouin was shaken up by an enormous check from New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey. It’s believed that Drouin went to “The Quiet Room” to see if he suffered a concussion; PHT will pass along whatever information becomes available.
(NHL teams aren’t exactly forthcoming with this information.)
The Islanders actually ended up with a power play from the fallout, as Hickey’s hit didn’t earn a penalty. The general reaction is that it wasn’t a dirty hit, yet some might disagree with that sentiment.
Update: Drouin didn’t come out during the beginning of the third period. He did, however, return midway through the final frame.
The NHL named the three finalists for the 2016 Foundation Player Award on Tuesday: Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano, New York Islanders forward Matt Martin and Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.
The awarded is handed to “an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey — commitment, perseverance and teamwork — to enrich the lives of people in his community.”
The winner gets to hand $25K to the charity of his choice.