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

Stars Kings Nov 2014 hockey NHL

In the Room: Kings and Stars talk 5-4 win by Dallas

Following the Kings wild 5-4 loss to the host Dallas Stars on Saturday night, here is what was being said in both locker rooms: Kings Head Coach Darryl Sutter on the team’s play in the first period: “I think we both had great opportunities in the first period. They scored on theirs and we didn’t. [...]

Stars Dallas NHL hockey

Puck Probability: Odds for Kings at Stars, November 22

With the Kings set to complete their three-game season series with the Stars in Dallas on Saturday night, we have our first return guest here on the Puck Probability series. Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News was so much fan last time around, he’s back to help us close out the set between these [...]

Seguin Stars

Things You May Not Know: Kings-Stars Finale Edition

This is it. In just about a three-week span, the Kings and Stars will have completed their three-game season series. Dallas, fresh off their Friday trade with the Sharks – where they sent defenseman Brenden Dillon to San Jose in exchange for defenseman Jason Demers and a third-round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft – [...]

Major News Items

Zykov NHL LA Kings

LA Kings 2014-15 Prospect Rankings: The Coveted Top 5

With the Honorable Mentions and Nos. 6-10 prospects previously revealed in other articles, we’re now prepared to share the final five players making up the latest edition of our L.A. Kings Top 10 Prospect Rankings. The … [Read More...]

More Prospect News