Here at Hockey Fest, Bob Miller just finished introducing the Kings team to the 3,000 fans in attendance. Well, most of the team. As expected, Drew Doughty was not in attendance. No players are compelled to attend events before the start of training camp, and while the rest of the Kings players were at Staples Center today, the fact that Doughty has yet to sign a contract for 2011-12 all but guaranteed that he wouldn’t be putting in an appearance. Dean Lombardi and fellow management members participated in a “state of the franchise” question-and-answer session with fans this morning, and afterward, Lombardi spoke in a bit more detail about the negotiations, with the caveat that he and Doughty’s agent, Don Meehan, have agreed to not publicly discuss terms, etc. Reports this week that Doughty’s representatives had rejected a long-term contract worth an average of $6.8 million were accurate, but that rejection also took place nearly two months ago, not recently.
Lombardi said that he and Doughty’s representatives have talked “three times this week, at varying degrees of length,” and Lombardi still had hope that Doughty would join the team for the start of training camp on Friday.
“I still have hope he will be here on Friday,” Lombardi said. “I don’t know if I expect it, but I have hope. That’s better than no hope. I sill have hope he’s going to be here.”
Lombardi indicated that he would talk to team ownership and formulate a negotiation plan for the final days before the start of camp. Lombardi said that any issues involving a no-trade clause haven’t even been discussed with Doughty’s agent.
“I intend to talk to ownership today and update Tim (Leiweke),” Lombardi said. “Anything we do, I have to have their approval or have them be on board. It’s fair to say that in the next 24 hours I’ll be talking to Tim and he will be talking to Mr. Anschutz. There has to be some finality in our approach.”