It’s a distant memory now, but the Los Angeles Kings went six straight seasons without a playoff berth until they snapped that drought in 2010. At their low-point, they took Drew Doughty with the second overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
Doughty quickly established himself as a top-tier defenseman and soon the Kings became one of the league’s most dangerous franchises.
“I’ve been saying this a couple years now, he’s our Nick Lidstrom,” Kings forward Anze Kopitar said, per LA Kings Insider. “We all know what he did in Detroit for many, many years. I think Drew likes the big stage, obviously. He likes these types of games. He gets very emotional.
“I guess if you draw a line underneath that, he just brings his game to the next level at this time of year and these type of games.”
Doughty logged a team-high 27:29 minutes in the Kings’ 6-2 victory over Chicago in Game 2 last night. That’s on par with the amount of playing time he’s been getting throughout the playoffs.
He wasn’t the Kings’ hero last night and he similarly hasn’t single-handily reversed the team’s fortunes. He’s got a great group around of him, but then, the same could have been said of Lidstrom throughout his 20-season career. Lidstrom never missed the postseason and he couldn’t have done that without the likes of Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, and Pavel Datsyuk on his side.
But Lidstrom was the constant in that equation. He was the foundation of their defense and arguably their team. It’s not fair to compare a 24-year-old to a seven-time Norris Trophy winner, but in Doughty, the Kings have a guy that they can build around for many years to come.