Did Doughty and Johnson Improve This Season?

For the Kings to have a significant chance of beating the San Jose Sharks in the opening round of the playoffs they’ll most likely need to rely heavily on their goaltending and defensemen.

Four of the six blueliners were with the team for last year’s post-season appearance against the Vancouver Canucks. Willie Mitchella veteran of 45 NHL playoff games – and rookie Alec Martinez now round out the group.

Yet, nearly all of the attention will be on the Kings’ pair of high-profile defensemen, Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson.  Both had strong years last season for the Kings and represented their countries at the Winter Olympics.

But, what about this season? Doughty’s goals (16 to 11), assists (43 to 29) and point totals (59 to 40) all slipped from a year ago – when he was nominated for the Norris Trophy.   And Johnson saw his point total slightly increase (36 to 43) by adding more assists. However, he hasn’t scored a goal since February 2 in Edmonton.

Have they improved from a year ago?  Here’s what coach Terry Murray had to say…

“The area of improvement is on the checking part of the game. Our numbers, (compared to) the league, on shots against, goals against, the penalty kill, our checking game has improved again this year. They’re a big, big part of it. Those young guys play the most minutes on the back end for our team and are important players that can play in all of those situations. They’re point producers and I’ve seen, in the second half of the year, a big improvement in Doughty’s game. At the start of the year, I saw a big improvement with Jack Johnson’s game. He started off playing very solid, putting numbers up and the numbers tailed off here at the end of the year. But, I thought his checking game was pretty good.”

Doughty led all Kings players in ice time this season, averaging more than 25 minutes per game. Does he see that increasing in the playoffs, to say 30 minutes a night?

“That’s not necessarily a plan that I have, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did get up there,” said Murray.  “Your match-ups are going to be, obviously, against the (Joe) Thornton line and the (Logan) Couture line and (Joe) Pavelski’s line is pretty good too. But, You need your best defensemen to play a lot of minutes against those top two, top three lines.”

For more from the coach… he spoke at length about Martinez and Mitchell in a recent article here, titled ‘Terry Murray Sizes Up His Defense.’

The Mayor
www.twitter.com/MayorNHL
www.facebook.com/MayorsManor

Shop.NHL.com

Recent Articles

Kings Roster Questions

Training Camp Open, Kings Trade Coming Next

Last summer, Dean Lombardi and his staff spent hours, days, and weeks-on-end agonizing over the salary cap. How were they going to get certain people re-signed, fit everybody under the cap, and make it all work without damaging their future wiggle room? In the end, Lombardi and Jeff Solomon, his key right hand in these [...]

Bodnarchuk-AHL-Manchester

Kings Camp Preview: 7 Questions with Dman Andrew Bodnarchuk

Even without suiting up for a single NHL game, one could argue that last season was a career best for Manchester Monarchs defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk. In his sixth professional season, the former Bruins draft pick put up 32 points, 12 more than his previous best of 20. On top of that, his +43 rating left [...]

Zykov Valentin Kings

Rookie Game 2: Zykov Shines Kings put away Coyotes

A band of the Kings top prospects bounced back with a 3-1 win over the Coyotes rookies in their second meeting in two days at Gila River Arena on Wednesday after losing the previous meeting 4-1. The Kings came out hard and outmuscled the Coyotes to take control of the game and never really let [...]

Major News Items

Manchester Monarchs MayorsManor Kings by Blake Gumprecht

MAJOR NEWS: Kings Preparing To Move Top Prospects To SoCal

Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com Follow @mayorNHL In a story that MayorsManor has been chasing for the … [Read More...]

More Prospect News