By Alexander Monaghan
Doughty was activated from IR today and is expected to play tonight in all situations. All formats should put him in the lineup at this point.
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UPDATE 10/28/11: Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider reports Doughty will play tomorrow night against the Phoenix Coyotes. While we await an official confirmation from the team, get ready for his return and activate him today.
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UPDATE 10/27/11: Doughty, as expected, will not play tonight says Jim Fox of FSN, via Twitter. He remains cleared for practice with the hope of returning this weekend. Stay tuned for a further update.
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UPDATE 10/26/11: Doughty skated today without a non-contact helmet according to Matt Reitz of View From My Seats, via Twitter. Later on, Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider would note the former second overall pick took the full skate, participating in some contact drills. However, he would still need evaluation before returning to the lineup for tomorrow’s game. As we previously explained, it looks like this weekend is a more realistic return date.
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UPDATE 10/24/11: Doughty will not play tomorrow and is highly doubtful for Thursday’s tilt. According to Hockey Primetime’s Curtis Zupke, via Twitter, the former second overall pick needs “a few more days without contact.” A few more days without contact is great but he probably needs some contact before getting back into game shape, making him questionable for this weekend as well. Stay tuned for a further update.
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UPDATE 10/22/11: We got some news today regarding Drew Doughty as he took to the ice during practice. According to Helene Elliott, via Twitter, the team’s number one d-man is not ready. Head coach Terry Murray further commented that Doughty will train and see a doctor on Sunday and that the former 2nd overall pick could be ready by mid-to-late next week.
The Kings play on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday next week and could probably use a boost by getting a healthy body back into the lineup. His best case scenario looks like Thursday, October 27th, when the team travels to Dallas to face the Stars.
As always, stay tuned for a further update from the team.
UPDATE 10/16/11: While Doughty is no longer on a holdout-watch, he currently is on an injury watch. The team’s top defender is listed as day-to-day following a big hit from Philadelphia Flyers winger Zac Rinaldo on Saturday night. Apparently, this injury is not a concussion. From the LA Times:
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is expected to be out at least seven to 10 days after suffering an undisclosed upper-body injury Saturday, though General Manager Dean Lombardi said via email that the injury was not to the defenseman’s head.
Doughty, who had a concussion early last season, was slammed hard on a rising, open-ice hit by Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo 20 seconds into the Kings’ game at Philadelphia. Doughty appeared dazed when he returned to the bench. According to the time-on-ice charts at the NHL’s website, the 21-year-old defenseman played one more shift before being held out of the game.
While sitting on the bench Doughty appeared to be favoring his shoulder. Lombardi would not say if that was where Doughty was injured but specified that the prized defenseman did not suffer a head injury.
It could be a head injury, it could be a shoulder injury. Either way, his lack of preseason seasoning likely had something to do with this infliction. Through the Kings’ first four games, the former second overall pick only managed one assist as he tried to get back to full game speed. Look for the team to recall Vyacheslav Voynov in the meantime or promote Alec Martinez into a more prominent, offensive role.
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UPDATE 9/30/11: Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings came to terms on Thursday evening, agreeing to a contract worth eight-years and $56 million. While Doughty still will need to begin endurance and conditioning training (today), he should be able to shake off the cobwebs and return to form shortly. He will travel with the team to Europe and play with the team from game number one.
As for fantasy hockey, feel free to draft him as early as the second round with the understanding he may start the season slowly.
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Today marks day one of Drewmageddon. The former second overall pick still has not inked a contract extension, and therefore has now not reported for training camp. Fans, coaches, teammates, the Los Angeles Kings front office and now fantasy owners are suffering from Drew Doughty Anxiety Syndrome (DDAS).
So what are we to do with Doughty, fantasy wise?
There are numerous important questions to ask, but mainly, Can you now trust Doughty? Following a breakout sophomore season where the 20-year-old posted 16 goals and 59 points, Doughty regressed to an ordinary 11 goals and 40 points last season. Don’t get me wrong, those statistics certainly qualify for fantasy hockey relevance but definitely not good value in the third round.
Take a look around the NHL and try to find Doughty’s comparables. Mike Green, despite a lost season, has produced to similar levels and probably should be drafted higher than Doughty. Duncan Keith likely fits into that same realm as well. If we are to believe Doughty plays over 70 games then there are fewer defenders with that same ceiling. Shea Weber and Nicklas Lidstrom certainly are elite but question marks surrounding their age and supporting cast are enough to pass at that high of a price tag. In short, there are few players like Doughty.
Due to these facts, it would be a safer pick to grab him as he falls down the list. Even with a holdout he would be a tremendous 5th round pick, similarly to drafting Sidney Crosby in the 2nd. Talent alone dictates the player should not be there, but injury or in this case holdout, weighs down their perceived value. Most leagues are guaranteed to have an autodraft GM, who in this case would be lucky, or unlucky enough to pay full price, so it might be better to simply let the poor fool overpay.
One thing that certainly worries me is the potential length of the holdout, and it’s impact. Not only has Doughty been affectionately synonymous with Doughnut throughout his three NHL seasons, but the Kings don’t exactly have a good history with entitled young players. Doughty has already missed numerous endurance tests today but more importantly he also is missing his first chance to gel with his new teammates.
Apparently, I am not the only person worried about both situations. From The LA Times:
Doughty’s absence isn’t a surprise but it is a significant moment for a team that appeared poised to crack the ranks of the elite in the talent-stacked Western Conference. Will this impasse last long enough to keep Doughty out of camp and affect his conditioning? How will teammates feel about his absence, especially if it carries into the season and leads to a slow start?
Helene Elliott asks a plethora of questions, none of which we can answer at this time. Nevertheless, a clever fantasy owner will keep them in the back of their respective minds.
Back in 2008-2009, GM Dean Lombardi allowed budding forward Patrick O’Sullivan to hold out for 20 games. We all know the story of how O’Sullivan went from relevant up-and-comer to overpaid minor leaguer in two short years following the infamous holdout. While we feel Doughty’s talent level is significantly higher, we acknowledge that Lombardi can be stubborn with his young players, letting them make their own mistakes.
In this case, the sooner Doughty gets back onto the ice, the better everyone can get back to their daily routine. Doughty needs to understand the potential damage of his actions before continuing to not play hockey professionally. Until then, tread carefully with regards to adding him to your fantasy hockey team.