Drew Doughty’s status as an unsigned restricted free agent continues to roll along. While negotiations haven’t been acrimonious between both sides, things continue to drag along without a deal getting done. After reports of Doughty turning down a nine-year, $68 million offer surfaced last week, it made things seem like there may not be a resolution coming at all in the near future.
Kings GM Dean Lombardi spoke with fans at the L.A. Kings fan fest on Sunday and, as you might expect, the status of negotiations with Doughty came up. Lombardi was able to clear some things up and also make it known just how things are proceeding with their top defenseman.
L.A. Kings Insider’s Rich Hammond was on the scene and finds out that negotiations with Doughty are getting so serious that Dean Lombardi is calling in the big guns: His own bosses.
Lombardi indicated that he would talk to team ownership and formulate a negotiation plan for the final days before the start of camp. Lombardi said that any issues involving a no-trade clause haven’t even been discussed with Doughty’s agent.
“I intend to talk to ownership today and update Tim (Leiweke),” Lombardi said. “Anything we do, I have to have their approval or have them be on board. It’s fair to say that in the next 24 hours I’ll be talking to Tim and he will be talking to Mr. Anschutz. There has to be some finality in our approach.”
While Lombardi sounded hopeful that things will get done and Doughty will get locked up long term, those words about going to ownership to help get things figured out make the situation sound a bit more desperate. There is no question that the Kings will get Doughty locked up long term and there’s no threat that he’ll be traded, so the doom and gloom talk can end right there.
That said, the longer things drag out, the more of training camp that Doughty is going to miss. With camp getting under way later this week, that leaves Doughty just a few days to get signed and into camp. Time is ticking away to make sure Doughty doesn’t miss any camp, but getting him signed up and without a potential grudge between himself and management makes more long term sense for the team.