Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty was leaned on heavily last season, but it’s been taken to a new extreme in 2014-15. He’s gone from averaging 25:42 minutes per game to a league-leading 29:23 minutes this season.
That’s partially been a byproduct of necessity as the Kings have been without Slava Voynov since October, but it nevertheless begs the question if fatigue will eventually set in for Doughty, and potentially at the worst possible time given that the playoffs are just around the corner.
For his part, Doughty would argue that the status quo is fine.
“I’m not doing anything differently, really,” the 25-year-old defenseman told LA Kings Insider. “I’m just going on with my normal routine I’ve been doing for…this is my seventh year. So I haven’t changed too much. I’m just used to playing those minutes. It doesn’t seem like I’m any more tired or any less tired. I’m just used to it now. If I’m playing 28 minutes, I’m kind of like ‘What’s happening here?’ because I’m used to like 30-to-31 minutes. No, I’m not doing anything differently.
“Obviously on off days I’m trying to get a little more rest than usual and if we have optional practice, I take the option just to get some rest. Besides that, I’m just going with my normal routine and trying to just play my best.”
The Kings did acquire blueliner Andrej Sekera from Carolina to bolster the Kings’ defensive depth, but that hasn’t significantly eaten into Doughty’s playing time. Doughty has still logged 28:23 minutes per contest in March. Given that every game is critical for Los Angeles as it fights for a playoff berth, it seems unlikely that his workload will lighten before the end of the regular season.