by Dan Adkisson
Drew Doughty, an Ontario native, has made sure his name pops up whenever we mention the best all-around defensemen of the current NHL era. Ever since he was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings as the No 2 pick back in 2008, hockey pundits have as a viable candidate for the Norris Trophy, which he claimed in 2016; becoming only the second Kings player to receive the accolade.
Life on the ice rink has generally been good for Doughty, but to what extent? Join us as we go through the career of arguably one of the best Ontarians ever to hit the puck.
The Formative Years
Doughty made the Kings squad at the age of 18, straight out of training camp, becoming the second youngest defenseman to don a Kings sweater. He finished his rookie season with six goals and 27 points, the best record among the 2008-09 season rookies.
Additionally, he finished his rookie season with 114 blocked shots and was third in power-play goals, confirming what the Los Angeles Kings knew right from the start — he was no one trick pony.
Doughty also participated in the 2009 NHL YoungStars Game and was named to the 2008-09 NHL All-Rookie team. He came in fifth in voting for the Calder Trophy that year, a prize awarded to the best-performing rookie in the NHL.
On the international stage, Doughty won gold for Canada at 2008 World Junior Championship, where he was named the best defenseman after having four assists in seven appearances on the ice.
The Rise to the Top
The longshot odds for Doughty to win another Norris Trophy currently hover around +16000 in Fanduel in Canada, but that wasn’t always the case. In 2016, when he was voted the best defenseman in the league, he was a clear favourite. He led the league in time on ice per game, set career-highs in assists and points, and scored ten goals; his third consecutive season to finish with double digits in the category.
Doughty played a pivotal role in the Kings winning the NHL’s William M. Jennings Trophy for the fewest goals allowed, while averaging 26:50 minutes per game.
In the 2009-10 season, he carried the Kings straight to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after a seven-year hiatus. During the 2011-12 season, Doughty cemented his Los Angeles Kings legacy by leading the team to its first championship with 12 assists and 16 points, the fifth best result in the entire league that postseason.
The team’s second successful Stanley Cup campaign in 2014 again had Doughty’s stamp all over it. He led all NHL defensemen with 18 points, which led to the team naming him alternate captain the following season.
Los Angeles Kings and Drew Doughty — An Unbreakable Bond
The superb performance in the NHL year after year earned Doughty an eight-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Kings in 2018. He is the first defenseman on the team to get 600 points, and on January 31st, 2023, against the Carolina Hurricanes, he passed Rob Blake to become the team’s leader for the most multi-point games from a defenseman. His current tally is 112 multi-point games.
Doughty played his 1000th NHL game against the New York Islanders in 2022, the first player from his draft class to achieve the feat.
When he decides to call it quits someday, the Kings will no doubt raise Doughty’s jersey to the rafters to honour him as the team’s legend that he is.