Time is on their side
In terms of ice time, we know exactly what Drew Doughty is capable of. During the playoffs last season, Doughty played more than 28 minutes in three of the six games, including an enormous 32:56 in the Game 2 overtime win for the Kings. Doughty started this season by playing 29:19 in the overtime season opener, but the ice time has been reduced from then, to 23:25, then 23:00, then 21:48 on Friday against Vancouver. I asked Terry Murray today about those numbers, and whether the Kings’ schedule — they started with four games in seven days, and now face seven games in 11 days — factored into Doughty’s ice time.
MURRAY: “I think part of it is that we want to get a good look at (Jake) Muzzin. Matt Greene is out with the injury, and (Muzzin) is the player we put in to get ice time. It’s important to give him a lot of minutes in important situations. He’s on the power play and he’s actually done a very good job for us. We’ve been pleased with that, so we’re trying to encourage it and keep it going. We’re very aware that Jack (Johnson) and Drew are players that we’re going to rely on very heavily. Their minutes, I’m sure, as we get going here, will increase. I’d like to see them up close to that 25-, 27-minute average over the course of the year. I’m sure that we’ll get there.”
Doughty also started last season with relatively limited ice time. In the Kings’ first five games, he played more than 22 minutes just twice and never played more than 24:28. By mid-November, he was regularly playing in the range of 24-26 minutes per game.