Defenseman Drew Doughty has been considered an elite force in the NHL essentially since he broke in with the Los Angeles Kings as a teenager in 2008. Doughty’s record since then is almost unparalleled among defensemen as he has twice won the ultimate prize at both the NHL (2012 and 2014 Stanley Cups) and international (2010 and 2014 Olympic Gold) levels.
Doughty’s play and contributions have not gone unnoticed, as he was voted the third-best player in the league by his NHL peers.
Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby and Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews came in at No. 1 and 2 respectively. Crosby is easily the best player in the game by a wide margin, but the Doughty/ Toews comparisons are almost uncanny. Both were top-three picks in the draft, and both helped bring two Stanley Cups to then-moribund franchises. Factor in the vital roles they each played in Canada capturing the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic gold medals, and their career arcs are eerily similar.
Since statistics don’t tell the whole story of a defenseman’s impact on the game, it’s tough for a blue-liner to get the credit they deserve for their contributions. The fact that Doughty’s peers think so highly of him that he is rated above elite forwards such as Evgeni Malkin and Steven Stamkos says all that needs to be said on how they feel about playing against him.
For a player like Doughty, who plays heavy minutes in all situations and does so at a high level, this type of praise surely beats out any individual award.
While Doughty has never won a Norris trophy, his impact on the team is second to none and the results speak for themselves. Look for the top three players in the league to continue doing what they do best and cement their status. Kings fans hope that includes Doughty and the team capturing another Stanley Cup, the third for both of them. That appears to be the lucky number.