By Mark Whicker, The Orange County Register
The Kings phone, the one in Drew Doughty’s bedroom in London, Ontario, is not the primary reason he is here. Did it hurt? Absolutely not.
Dean Lombardi, general manager of the Kings, had the No 2 pick in the 2008 draft. He was thrilled to meet a Canadian kid so taken with a club that never had won the Stanley Cup.
“It was because of Wayne Gretzky, of course,” Lombardi said the other day. “And there were other good defensemen in that draft. But it was something you remembered.”
The draft came, Tampa Bay took Steven Stamkos, the Kings followed up by taking Doughty. Now, other Kings phones will be ringing.
For tickets. Playoff tickets.
Yeah, this year.
Doughty turned 20 on Dec. 8. He is second on the Kings in scoring. He leads them in ice time and is 13th in the NHL, at 24:54 per game. He has 12 goals and 49 points, as opposed to six goals and 27 points all last season.
He runs the league’s 10th-ranked power play. He evicts the puck from the Kings’ zone. He can carry it, too.
On Monday, in a 4-on-4 situation, he saw Alexander Frolov scrumming behind Columbus goaltender Steve Mason, so he quietly excused himself, set up between the circles, and was in fire-away mode when Frolov slid him the puck. The no-doubt score was Doughty’s 13th, tied for second among NHL defensemen.
Doughty can also rock the body, as he did to Alex Ovechkin in the Olympics.
None of this surprises the Kings, based on last season, when they opened the rookie package and saw that no assembly was required.
“I had great coaching in junior,” Doughty said Monday morning, before the Kings victory, “and that’s what prepared me for this. First time you walk into an NHL locker room you might be a little nervous, but I didn’t think there was anything intimidating about it.”
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