Thursday, April 28, 2011

2010-11 Season Review: Drew Doughty

Drew Doughty
Drew Doughty
2010-11 Stats: 76 GP, 11 G, 29 A, 40 PTS, +13, 15 PPP, 68 PIM
RFA this Summer

Plain & Simple: Drew Doughty letdown this year.  Following a breakout campaign last season that included a 59 point regular season, Olympic Gold medal, and Norris Trophy nomination; expectations couldn't have been any higher for the 21-year old.  After his sluggish start, his work ethic and off-season conditioning were called into question.  The explosiveness and puck control that drew comparisons to Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey last season seemed to abandon Doughty at times.

His production was down across the board.  He put up 40 points following a 59-point campaign last season.  Whether Doughty's struggles were indicative of the power play's struggles or vice versa; his numbers were cut in half.  From 31 points (9G, 22A) on the man-advantage to just 15 points (5G,10A) this season.

And who can forget Doughty's reaction to the fans booing the Kings following their second period performance against St. Louis on March 17.  To refresh your memory...the Kings were being outshot 24-3.  They lost the game 4-0.  Not like those two points cost the Kings in the long run or anything.  Oh wait...
“Booing us kind of pisses me off as a player, because every night we’re out there playing our hardest, obviously for the team but, at the same time, for them. For them to boo us off the ice, or whatever the case is, like I said we’re not just playing for us, we’re playing for them. We’re going to battle for them, and for them to boo us shows a lack of respect from them, but it’s a part of the game. Fans boo their teams all the time, so it’s nothing we can be really upset at.”
Doughty's playoff performance this year was a far cry from his dominance against Vancouver last season.   This year's playoffs were a microcosm of Doughty's entire regular season.  Flashes of brilliance followed by nothing.  His Game Two performance was pure dominance but it was as if Doughty gave everything he had to tie the series 1-1 and nothing left in the tank for the rest of the series.  No points, 8 Shots, and  4 penalty minutes in the following four games.  So many glaring mistakes:  His all-or-nothing hip-check attempt on Logan Couture that led to a goal in Game 1, his roughing minor with Scott Nichol that led to two SJ goals in Game 4, or his unnecessary high-sticking penalty on Devin Setoguchi late in Game 6.   

FINAL GRADE: B-; Expectations were sky high.  Too high?  I really don't think so.  If you've ever heard Dean Lombardi speak: He always refers to the Red Wings and how dealing with success is always tougher than dealing with failure.  Doughty obviously didn't handle his success well.

Now, the big question is: How will this 'down' year affect his contract status?  Will the Kings go with a short-term deal to keep him motivated or go long-term and look for a discount?  It's going to be interesting.  Following last year's was a no-brainer that he would receive a contract with a a Zdeno Chara/Jay Bouwmeester type cap hit in the $7.5-$6.5M range but now that his work ethic has come into question; he may have dropped himself down into the next tax bracket in the $4.5-$5.5M range.  Most fans say Dustin Penner has the most to prove next season.  We already know what type of player he is.  Doughty's ceiling is still unknown; the sky is the limit.  Is he going to be that perennial Norris Trophy candidate or is he going to be content with getting by on his skill alone.  I'm saying it now: Doughty will win the 2011-12 Norris Trophy.

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