Kings training camp opened up today and, as expected, Drew Doughty wasn’t there to join the team for their fitness tests and physicals. Kings GM Dean Lombardi and Doughty’s agent Don Meehan are still in the process of negotiating a long-term deal for the cornerstone defenseman and those negotiations haven’t exactly been going well.
Today, Lombardi spoke with L.A. Kings Insider’s Rich Hammond to give his thoughts on the situation and while Lombardi isn’t happy that things are taking this long with Doughty, the flip side of that is that the longer Doughty continues to holdout for a new deal it’s going to hurt his wallet as well.
Hammond gets the word from Lombardi that for each day Doughty isn’t signed it’s going to take money from the last offer the Kings made to the 2010 Norris Trophy finalist.
Question: All that said, at the risk of asking a simple question, what’s next?
LOMBARDI: “The problem we have, and we’re going to have to see how this evolves, is that generally with a player, you establish his market value and he signs up for 275 days of work. That was the one thing that changed during the CBA, that players were paid during training camp. So, quite frankly, it’s the way we have to approach this. Let alone missing a day or work, as well as getting behind your teammates in terms of preparation. It probably makes this a little more difficult, but you have to factor that in now. You’re not getting a full year’s work as of today.”
Question: Meaning the offer gets reduced by however many days he’s not here?
LOMBARDI: “Well, as we talked about before, there has to be some finality, in terms of when the players are supposed to report. It’s no different, I think, than what the other teams have done. It’s, `OK, now we have to regroup here and see what evolves,’ and then I have to go back to ownership. It’s no different than anything else. You do this based on 275 days of work, and now it’s down to 274.”
By Hammond’s math (and ours, we double-checked) the last offer on the table was for $6.8 million a year and dividing that by 275 gets you a daily cost of $24,727.27. We’re sure that anyone else around the world would love to make nearly $25,000 a day, but for Doughty the pressure is on now to get something worked out and fast.
While Doughty is a restricted free agent and he can do as he wishes to get the right kind of deal, the fact that there’s been no offer sheets presented to him or any other RFA this summer and teams are now entering training camp with the rosters they feel they can win with, Doughty’s options are pretty limited as to what he can do.
Essentially, Doughty either has to compromise and take the Kings’ offer or continue to sit at home waiting for the Kings to cave in to his demands. Waiting for Dean Lombardi to blink could leave Doughty waiting around for a while. Doughty would certainly benefit from being in camp and with the Kings having such high hopes heading into this season, it would do both him and the team a world of good to have him there from the get-go. For now, they’ll all have to deal with the distraction of having Doughty’s negotiations being the lead story.
While Lombardi is confident they’ll get something done and Doughty will be a King for a long time, the bumps in the road that are these negotiations are serving to provide more negative feelings than positive ones. Here’s to hoping both sides will find peace soon as the Kings could prove to be one of the more special teams this season.