Drew Doughty’s future with the Los Angeles Kings has been delayed as he waits a new contract as a restricted free agent. As one of the top young defensemen in the league, Doughty’s got a lot going for him and the future of the Kings’ blue line. Of course, trying to get a franchise defenseman locked up to a long term deal is easier said than done.
The market for defensemen got out of whack this summer thanks to deals given out to guys like Christian Ehrhoff (10 years, $40 million to Buffalo) and Steve Montador (four years, $11 million) so the price for a 21 year-old former Norris Trophy finalist would seem to be astronomical.
For Doughty, however, his future lies in the hands of GM Dean Lombardi and the rest of Kings management. The Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott has the story from L.A. about how offers are being passed back and forth between the two sides but ultimately it’s all on the Kings’ shoulders to get a deal done.
Don Meehan, who teams with Mark Guy in representing Doughty, said Tuesday he hadn’t spoken to the Kings about Doughty since June 23. Meehan said he assumed the Kings were focusing on their trade for Mike Richards and (ultimately futile) pursuit of free agent Brad Richards, but those deals are long done.
It’s believed the Kings are offering up to nine years at more than $6.5 million per year.
“I think he’d be happy to stay if we agree upon terms that are acceptable to him,” Meehan said. “And those are our instructions, to negotiate with L.A. on that basis to secure something that he’d be happy with.”
A nine-year deal like that would cost the Kings at least $58.5 million over that span. A deal like that would also keep Doughty in Los Angeles until he’s 30 and ensure that the Kings keep him locked up well into his prime and into his first few years where he could be an unrestricted free agent. To get through that the Kings would have to pay up a bit more, but on the upside they’d get the long term deal they’re looking for and find a way to help keep the salary cap hit down.
No matter how things get worked out, the Kings are going to have to do their part to keep Doughty happy and not prolong his semi-freedom as a restricted free agent. While the prospects aren’t likely that he could be signed to an offer sheet, teams never want to take a chance like that and keep him even the slightest bit available to anyone with the salary space and willingness available to make something drastic happen.
The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.
Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.
Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.
“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”
Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:
- He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
- Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
- The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.
Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.
Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?
Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.
Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.
Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).
A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:
Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.
It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.
After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.
Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.