Wednesday, November 11, 2009

10 Tidbits on Drew Doughty

Teenagers aren't supposed to play in the NHL, especially on defense. Most scouts will tell you because of the complexities of the position, the majority of young d-men won't mature until about 24-25. Tonight in Carolina, on game two of the Kings current five game road trip, young Drew Doughty will play in his 100th NHL game. Even more remarkable than the quantity of games played BEFORE his 20th birthday is the quantity of minutes played - he led the Kings and all NHL rookies with nearly a 24 minute average last season and continues to lead the team most nights this season.

(Doughty's first hockey card, age 4)
In celebration of what is sure to be many milestones to come for Drew, let's take a closer look at the guy teammates call Dewy:

  • Born in London, Ontario, Canada. It's quite the hotbed of hockey. Other NHLers from London - Jeff Carter (Philly), Joe Thornton (San Jose) and Eric Lindros (multi-teams).

  • Numbers Game - wore #3 when playing for Team Canada at the World Championships last Spring. Growing up he wore #99 in honor of his childhood idle - Wayne Gretzky. Then, briefly wore #19 for Joe Sakic. With his Junior team (Guelph) and here in LA he wears #8 (taken from his birthday (Dec 8).

  • Was taken second overall by the Kings in the 2008 draft. It could end up being a very memorable 1st round for defenseman. Other key guys taken that day - Colten Teubert (Kings #13), Zach Bogosian (Atl #3), Luke Schenn (Tor #5) and probable Calder candidate this season, Michael Del Zotto (NYR #20)

  • Prior to the draft E.J. McGuire, the NHL's director of Central Scouting, said that Doughty is "a defenseman around which a team is going to build the next 10 years." Yep.

  • Won gold with Team Canada at the 2008 World Junior Championships, where he was named Top Defenseman of the tournament. He was just the fifth Canadian d-man to win the award (Marc Staal 2006, Dion Phaneuf 2005, Bryan McCabe 1995, Gord Kluzak 1982) and the first to win it before being drafted into the NHL. Also played for his native country at the 2009 World Championships (earned silver medal), the 2007 World Junior Under-18 Championships and the 2006 World Junior Under-17 Championships. Also has an outside chance of making the very deep roster that will represent Team Canada at the upcoming Olympics in Vancouver. Participated in the initial training camp in August and will anxiously await the final roster announcement on December 31st.

  • Other awards - was voted Best Offensive Defenseman in the 2007 and 2008 OHL Coaches Poll (Guelph, Juniors) and was also named to the OHL All-Rookie Team in 2005-06. Selected to participate in the YoungStars game at the '09 NHL All-Star Weekend in Montreal. After his rookie campaign in the NHL was named to the '08-09 All-Rookie Team.

  • Offensively minded - tied for first among NHL rookie defensemen last season with 27 points and 21 assists. This was after he put up 50 points (13-37=50) in 58 regular season games during his final campaign with the Guelph Storm.

  • Was called out by former Kings forward and current broadcaster, Jim Fox, after the first game of the current season. In an article HERE Foxy called it Drew's "worst game as a King."

  • Making history - made his NHL debut on Oct 11, 2008 vs. San Jose. Recorded first NHL point with a goal Oct. 20, 2008 vs. Colorado.

  • Under contract - He is currently in the second year of his initial three year deal, earning $875k per year. He'll be a restricted free agent at the end of next season. If you're placing a bet, put it all down that he isn't going anywhere!

  • 100 and counting. Keep 'em coming Drew. You're the foundation of what is arguably the most promising group of young d-men currently assembled by any NHL team. The Kings are in good shape for many years to come with you minding the blue line.

    In closing, it should also be noted that Michal Handzus will be playing in his 700th NHL game tonight too. The signing of Handzus was universally panned when first announced a few summers ago after he was given a four year deal - at a time when he was coming off reconstructive knee surgery. Although his first season as a King was nothing to write home about, near the end of that year you could start to see he was slowly regaining his pre-surgery form. That was confirmed last year when he had a remarkable bounce back season. The chemistry formed with Alexander Frolov has continued this year and many now see what Dean Lombardi was banking on when he first signed him...a solid two way center. Congrats Zeus on game #700.

    The only number that could be more meaningful tonight is one. As in "wins: one in a row." If you prefer the number two, that could work also. As in "the end of the two game losing streak" or "two points." Either will do.

    The Mayor


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