Drew Doughty played 35:16 last night, and that’s quite a lot of ice time
Back in September, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Kings were hoping to cut Drew Doughty’s ice time to around 25 minutes per game, down from the 29:00 he averaged last season.
We only mention this because Doughty logged a career-high 35:16 in last night’s overtime loss to St. Louis. He’d logged 31:29 Tuesday in Washington, and that game ended in regulation. On the season, he’s averaging 28:13, the third most in the NHL behind Erik Karlsson (29:05) and Ryan Suter (28:49).
In a related story, the Kings may look to add a defenseman prior to the Feb. 29 trade deadline. They were reportedly very interested in Dustin Byfuglien, before he re-signed with the Jets.
From ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:
Other possibilities now? Perhaps Dan Hamhuis, if he’s willing to waive his no-trade. Or Roman Polak? Time will tell but more likely than not, I think the Kings will have to settle for more of a third pairing add-on or maybe even do nothing at all.
Head coach Darryl Sutter obviously has faith in three of his blue-liners: Doughty, Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin. But is he comfortable with Luke Schenn as his fourth? Remember that Christian Ehrhoff isn’t with the team anymore, and he was supposed to help alleviate the loss of Slava Voynov. Against the Blues, Sutter gave d-man Brayden McNabb just 10:07 and Jamie McBain even less, 7:52.
Now, granted, the Kings paid a hefty price to get Andrej Sekera last year, and that blew up in their faces.
This year, instead of giving up assets for a rental, they may decide that giving their best defenseman all that ice time isn’t such a bad thing.