‘Time has flown by’: Doughty to play game No. 400 tonight

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Drew Doughty was drafted five years ago and is only 24 years old, but tonight he’ll be playing in his 400th NHL contest.

“Time has flown by,” Doughty said, as per NHL.com. “It just seems like yesterday I was 18 and I was in my first year in the League. I’ve had so much fun.

“I’ve still got a long, healthy road ahead of me and I’m looking forward to continue it here in L.A.”

Getting to 400 games so quickly was a result of several factors. One, Doughty was taken second overall at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and debuted right away — during the ’08-09 campaign — on a relatively poor Kings team (34-37-11, 5th in Pacific Division), which afforded him the opportunity for big minutes.

At 19, he averaged a team-high 23:50 per game.

Two, Doughty has been remarkably durable. His only notable injuries were a concussion in 2010 that cost him six games and an upper-body injury in 2011 that cost him four. He appeared in all 82 games during his rookie campaign and all 48 during last year’s lockout-shortened season.

Where Doughty’s feat really stands out, though, is amongst his ’08 draft mates. Doughty got to 400 faster than anyone — Steve Stamkos is stuck on 390 (broken tibia) while Luke Schenn is at 388. Josh Bailey and Zach Bogosian are the only other ’08 draftees to have appeared in 300 NHL contests thus far.

But throw in playoff contests, and Doughty is way out in front. He’s appeared in 50 postseason games, putting him at 450 all told.

“It’s crazy,” Doughty said.