2024 Kings Seasons In Review – Drew Doughty

The final look at the team’s blue line from this season with a look at number-one defenseman Drew Doughty.

Doughty had a really strong season. He was close to a career-high in goals while continuing to log his regular minutes and role at even strength. He was a part of a resurgent penalty kill and was one of the more productive pieces on the man advantage. Over the course of 82 games – and it’s important to note that he played in all 82 of them – Doughty did his thing and he did it at a high level.

Drew Doughty
LAK Statline –82 games played, 15 goals, 35 assists, +15 rating, 44 penalty minutes
LAK Playoff Statline – 5 games played, 2 goals, 1 assist, -4 rating, 14 penalty minutes
NHL Possession Metrics (Relative To Kings) – CF% – 54.7% (+1.2%), SCF% – 53.3% (-0.1%), HDCF% – 53.6% (+0.6%)

Trending Up – To put it bluntly, this was an extremely productive season for Drew Doughty at both ends of the ice.

Doughty scored 15 goals this season. One shy of his career NHL of 16, which he set back in the 2009-10 season. Doughty’s goals this season seemed to come with a simple formula. A blast of a shot from the center point, sometimes via the one-timer, with traffic in front. A shot Doughty said he worked hard to improve upon last summer and it certainly paid off. Nine of Doughty’s 15 goals came from what the NHL would classify as “long range”. That led all defensemen. Doughty ranked in the 90th percentile or better in several shooting categories this season, in terms of top shot speed, average shot speed, number of shots between 90 and 100 MPH and number of shots between 80 and 90 MPH. Doughty was ripping pucks this season and it translated into goals.

While it was one of the strongest offensive seasons of Doughty’s career, it was also one of his best defensive seasons. In Mikey Anderson’s season in review article over the weekend, it was noted that he ranked ninth of the 217 defensemen to play at least 500 minutes at 5-on-5, in terms of fewest goals against. Doughty was actually even better, ranking seventh in the NHL at 1.7 goals-against per/60. It was the fourth-strongest season of his career from that perspective. All of it came for Doughty with the lowest offensive-zone start percentage of his NHL career, coming in at just over 40 percent. Really impressive stuff.

When it comes to Doughty’s role, future thoughts on perhaps preserving him as he goes through his 30’s, there’s something to be said there, but it also needs to be noted how he’s handled the role that he’s been given in the here and now. Doughty can only play the minutes he’s tasked with playing and he logged 25:48 per game this season, the second-highest total of all NHL skaters. He also traveled a total of 293 miles on the ice this season, ranking in the 99th percentile of all skaters. Dude is one of the most durable defensemen in the league with the capability of handling whatever is thrown his way. He did exactly that this season.

Trending Down – Stealing elements here from Mikey Anderson’s section, but in the five-game series against the Oilers, Doughty was on the ice for eight goals against at 5-on-5, tied with Anderson for the most among all LA skaters. Doughty’s chance supression metrics weren’t all that out of whack with his regular-season totals, slightly worse but within reason. As the team’s top defenseman, though, he’d be the first to admit that eight goals against from five games isn’t the standard he holds himself to. Even if the actual goals were greater than that the numbers said they were “expected” to be, the name of the game is goals for and goals against. In that regard, it was a difficult series.

Honestly, with the playoffs out of the way, there weren’t all that many negatives with regard to Doughty’s season. From the eye test or the numbers, I can’t think of a ton of areas in which number eight struggled. As a team leader, he expressed regret for that 17-game stretch from late-December into January, when the team won just three times. He called it one of the toughest stretches he’s dealt with in the NHL and doubled down on what he said at the time, which is that the results were on the players. As a team leader, he took his share of the responsibility for that time, which the Kings ultimately just could not pull itself out of.

2024-25 Outlook– Doughty has three seasons remaining on his long-term contract with the Kings.

Doughty’s entry in this section will likely remain as it was last year and as it likely will be next season. Doughty is the team’s number-one defenseman and will play on the team’s top defensive pairing. Doughty admitted during his own exit interview that he would potentially be open to seeing his role change if asked and if it helped the team. I don’t see any way that impacts Doughty’s role as RD1, but could the Kings look to juggle things on the power play, whether that’s adding a second defenseman or toggling units around? Perhaps. Either way, Doughty will play a big role in all situations going forward, serving as the team’s leader on the backend will hopefully still contributing at the high level he did this season.

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