What’s Up With Drew Doughty?

Michael Amato

2013-03-04

 DrewDoughty

 

What’s Up With Drew Doughty?


With the NHL Lockout delaying the start of the season until mid January, the Los Angeles Kings would have had to have been confident that they could avoid a Stanley Cup hangover. Playing well into June as the Kings did last summer meant plenty of bumps and bruises, as well as some significant injuries. Los Angeles started a little slow out of the gates, but they seem to have turned things around and their top scorers are all rounding into form nicely. All except Drew Doughty that is.


Doughty has actually been on a steady decline since his 2009-10 sophomore season when he exploded for 16 goals and 59 points, with a plus-20 rating. The Kings thought they had a perennial Norris Trophy candidate, and many fantasy hockey participants thought they had the backbone of their squad for years to come.

Now Doughty hasn’t been horrible since 2009-10, but he has definitely fallen below expectations. He followed up his excellent 2009-10 campaign with a 40 point year in 2010-11, which was a 19 point drop off. Then last year he was only able to hit 36 points. However, there was reason for optimism during the Kings’ lengthy playoff run. Doughty posted 16 points in 20 post-season games that culminated with a Stanley Cup.

So I’m sure many poolies felt that Doughty would bounce back strongly in 2013. So far though, much to the chagrin of many, the strong skating Kings blueliner is off to a rocky start. Doughty has yet to score a goal and has just eight assists, while sitting at a minus-8 rating. In fact, Slava Voynov has overtaken him for the Kings lead in scoring by a defenseman.

So what has happened to Doughty over the last few seasons? Well typically in situations like this where a player’s statistics have dropped, there is more than just one factor. The first thing to look at would be who Doughty has been playing with and has that changed. The answer would be yes and no. Doughty has been playing with Rob Scuderi the majority of the time in even strength situations since 2009-10. During Doughty’s 59 point campaign he saw time with Scuderi 40.51% of the time and this season the two are playing together at a similar rate of 34.75%. So you can pretty much rule out his defensive partner being a factor in Doughty's decline in scoring.

However, the situation above relates to even strength and Doughty’s time on the power play has been changed drastically. When Jack Johnson was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets late in 2011-12, Doughty’s numbers took a big hit. The two were Los Angeles’ main point men on the power play and connected for 31 points together in that area since 2009-10. Last year Doughty had 11 points wit