With an ice time average of 28:58, Drew Doughty is closing in upon Ryan Suter’s 29:19 average time on ice per game, the highest in the NHL.
Doughty leads the league with 32.9 shifts per game, though he’s beginning to grow wary of his average shift length. Against Dallas on Saturday, a game in which Doughty drew a two-season high of 33:07, he averaged just over 1:00 per shift through the 33 times he hopped over the boards. Overall, he ranks tied for 14th in the league amongst regulars with an average shift time of 53 seconds.
“I like to be at around 50 seconds for my shift average, so I won’t be playing that much next game, I don’t think,” he said.
That’s a good bet. The Kings will open up a back-to-back road set against Nashville and Minnesota on Tuesday, so any fatigue in a compressed schedule will be monitored. Fortunately, Doughty isn’t wilting under the heavy workload.
“No, I feel good out there,” he said. “Obviously after a two-minute shift on a PK I’m tired, but you know we work all year recovering from being tired, so you take a minute off and you’re ready to go again. We work all summer to be in good shape for the year. I feel like I do a good job with that, so I feel good out there.”
Drew Doughty, on how heavy minutes have affected his game:
I feel like offensively I’ve been getting chances like crazy lately and I’m just not scoring. I still feel like I’m playing well, I don’t feel like I’m slower or I’m not doing as much as I had when I was playing 25 minutes. You know, obviously you’d have a little more energy the less you played, but at the same time, I like to be in the game, I like to be out there as much as possible.
Doughty, on whether injury and personnel issues on defense have created an “us against the world” mentality:
Yeah, we have guys who are stepping up to the plate, I feel like they’re playing good hockey. I think the D, yeah we gave up five goals last game. It maybe wasn’t our best, but I think as a whole we’re playing pretty good. We’re trying to get better obviously and stop giving up so many shots against and try to make Quickie not have to stand on his head all of the time, but I think the guys have stepped up to the plate. We have had a lot of things go against us, so we’re trying to prove that no matter who’s in the lineup, who’s out of the lineup, we can still be a good defensive corps and a good team.
Dustin Brown, on Doughty’s heavy minutes:
I mean, it’s been higher than what he’s normally used to, but I also think it’s right where he would prefer it to be, I know as a player you always want more. If he had been playing 33 [minutes] for the last three or four years, he’d want 35, and that’s kind of how it is. It’s a fine line between finding that sweet spot, but it’s different for everyone. I remember when I played 20 minutes a night. I loved playing 20 minutes a night, and now I play anywhere around 15-18. It all just kind of works itself out, but given the situation, and the fact that he’s one of those defensemen that play in all situations, that’s part of it for him. First power play, PK, 5-on-5, he’s going every situation so he doesn’t get a break like some of the other guys do on the back-end.