After drafting Drew Doughty in 2008, the Los Angeles Kings acquired Sean O’Donnell from Anaheim to provide their young investment with a veteran presence. O’Donnell went on to worked with Doughty during his rookie and sophomore campaigns.
He remembers offering tips to Doughty when he came into the league and Doughty was receptive to his input.
“He’s a very smart player,” O’Donnell said. “He was a little bit raw when he came in and I would try to tell him, ‘This is what this guy likes to do,’ or, ‘On a 3 on 2, let’s play it this way.’ And he just got it. He understood why. You explained it, he got it and he stuck with it.”
All the same, O’Donnell downplayed his role in Doughty’s success.
“It’s almost like a teacher who gets a kid in Grade 5 or 6 and they go on to great things. You watch with admiration and you’re proud, and you’re happy you were able to help. But he was going to be a great player no matter who played with him,” said O’Donnell. “He’s doing things I could never imagine on the ice. Just to see that raw player when he came to L.A.; if I had a one percent influence, it makes you proud.”
O’Donnell is scheduled be an unrestricted free agent this summer and, at the age of 40, it’s not clear what the future holds. Still, he’s won a Stanley Cup, played in 1,224 regular season games, and one of the young defensemen he helped along the way has a bright future ahead of him.