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 Of the Podcast Ep. 7 – The Five Game Report Card

We’re back!
Kings of the Podcast, Episode 7 includes…
– Goals For / Against: Our Three Hot Takes
– Analytics on Doughty, Bjornfot, Toffoli, Quick
– Thoughts after the first five games of the season
– Ontario Reign, notes from the farm
– What’s the plan with Prokhorkin?
– Will Bjornfot stay or go back to Sweden?
– Which AHL defenseman to pay […]

LA Kings Prospect Tracker – Week Ending October 14, 2019

Every hockey league is now
active, officially. Barring injuries, professionals and prospects have started their 2019-20 season. A plethora of prospects in the LA Kings pipeline put up stellar performances over the past week. Take a look…

EUROPE

Alexander Dergachyov:
Forward, SKA St. Petersburg, KHL (3rd round pick in 2015)

Regular season: 0 goals, 2
assists, plus-1, 2 PIM in 13 games […]

SPORTSNET RADIO REPLAY: Hoven on Early Season Results, Sharks, Oilers, Hawks, Sabres, and Penguins

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on Sportsnet Radio in Toronto, where he joined host Josh Goldberg for a lap around the NHL to talk early season results for the Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Buffalo Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, etc.
Today’s radio segment can be heard using the player below […]

Major News Items

Kopitar Out, Can Watch His Son Against Arizona

Per recent tradition, it will be the Kings and Coyotes in a pair of split-squad games to open up preseason on Tuesday night. LA captain Anze Kopitar will not suit up, but he will get a chance to watch his son … [Read More...]

More Prospect News