Shea Weber vs. Drew Doughty

steve laidlaw




I recently realized that I have not done a defensemen-centric Cage Match since May. It is not that I hate defensemen. I think it is just because defensemen are just so doggone hard to draft. They are far too fickle for my liking. One year they look like gold and the next the magic is gone. (Kinda like Lindsay Lohan, am I right?) Sure that can happen to any player but with defensemen the swings are so much more significant because they score fewer points in general. They also score much fewer goals so instead of relying on their talents to produce points like forwards can they rely more heavily on teammates and other situational factors. This is problematic for us poolies. I mean, how many questionable secondary assists did your defensemen snake last season? And can they be counted on to be as lucky? The answers are almost impossible.


Consider for instance the case of Drew Doughty. After the 2009-10 season Doughty was the darling of the fantasy hockey world. In just his second season he had blown all expectations out of the water scoring 16 goals and 59 points, good for third in the league. Then 2010-11 comes around and he gets bonked on the head (which could happen to anyone) but also sees him team slip drastically offensively.


In 2009-10 the Los Angeles Kings were 9th in the league in scoring. In 2010-11 they were 25th. Worse yet the Kings power play slipped from 7th to 21st. Clearly more than just a bump on the noggin was hurting Doughty last season and in turn that hurt fantasy owners. We cannot say anyone was all that wrong to take Doughty as high as they probably did but we can say for certain that it lead to quite a bit of drafter's remorse, which like it's ugly cousin, buyer's remorse, simply will not go away.


Conceding that Doughty likely underachieved last season and that (if only to piss off those of us who bailed on him) he will bounce back big, just where can we draft him?


I will hopefully help to answer that with this week's Cage Match in a matchup that has been in high demand. It's Weber vs. Doughty because that's what the people want.


As mentioned earlier defensemen are fickle beasts in the fantasy world. One minute they're up the next they are down. If you went off last year's totals alone you would have to concede Weber's dominance over Doughty but it is nowhere near that simple. I mean, based on last year's totals you would also think that Seabrook is just as good as Weber, which is so laughable that I won't even go into it but suffice to say there will never be a Seabrook/Weber Cage Match. But I digress.


The major problem when comparing these two is the simple fact that Doughty has very little in the way of a baseline. He has only three NHL seasons under his belt and it runs a lot like The Good the Bad and the Ugly. The Ugly, of course being his rookie season which is hardly an accurate representation of his fantasy capabilities. To work around this issue we will first look at a crude two-year comparison between Doughty and Weber and then we will bust out a comparison based on every poolies favourite word: upside.


The key to allowing this comparison of two-year averages is that we will cover upside later but also that Weber's 2009-10 season was similarly disappointing as Doughty's 2010-11 season. These averages do not represent the outright best of either of these two but that is probably a good thing. Here are the figures: