Once again, the Kings have managed to put themselves in the middle of one of hockey’s messiest offseason stories. Last year, they dipped their toe into the Ilya Kovalchuk situation and ended up getting stuck in free-agent quicksand for a month. Now it’s Drew Doughty’s contract, a situation they hoped to have resolved more than two months ago. Remember, at one point, the Kings hoped to have Doughty signed prior to the start of the free-agency period, so they knew how much money they could offer Brad Richards in their low-profile attempt to sign Richards. Now, no Richards, no Doughty.

Perhaps that was part of the problem. From their perspective, the Kings went big early, deciding in July that they would be willing to give Doughty a contract equal to — or actually, in total, greater than — the one they gave Anze Kopitar in 2008. They thought that would be enough. By all accounts, it isn’t. Thus the problem. The Kings showed, in July, what they claimed (and still claim) was their best hand, and for two months they have remained adamant that they won’t budge. Other offers have been exchanged, at different levels, but nothing has significantly changed. So here we are, as one talented league pundit put it, waiting for one side to blink, and with Doughty’s side — if reports are accurate — potentially seeking $7 million a year for a 21-year-old defenseman with 239 NHL games but with a Norris Trophy nomination under his belt.

Don’t discount the past here. Dean Lombardi has publicly talked about the situation he faced in San Jose in 2002, when goalie Evgeni Nabokov and defenseman Brad Stuart held out. Both players eventually signed during training camp, but the well-regarded Sharks finished last in the Pacific Division and Lombardi was fired late in the season. Lombardi has publicly said that he believes the two holdout situations contributed to him losing his job. Who represented Nabokov then? Don Meehan. Who represents Doughty now? Meehan. Lombardi told me recently that he doesn’t think Meehan is holding the ghost of 2002 over his head, but Meehan didn’t achieve his high level of success in this industry by having a short memory. There’s no question that, generally speaking, past situations or personality conflicts can sometimes come into play.

So, on-ice sessions start Saturday. The Kings aren’t nearly the same team without Drew Doughty. In the short term, his absence would most benefit rookie Viatcheslav Voynov, who would see increased reps, but Doughty’s absence would loom over the locker room. In a season in which expectations and hopes are high for the Kings, how much of an impact would this make? Should the Kings bite the bullet, and give Doughty what he wants, or hold their line and continue the staring contest?


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Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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