The second half of the season has not been kind to the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings went from second place to third in a matter of weeks, alternating wins and losses. With their playoff hopes still alive and well the news that defenseman Drew Doughty will miss the rest of the regular season is not the news they wanted to hear at this moment.
On Monday Doughty had wrist surgery after being out since March 7 due to an injury against the Boston Bruins. He had been having the best season of his career since he won the Norris Trophy in 2016. He was in the best shape of his career and was determined to bring another Stanley Cup to the city of Los Angeles.
Although that still might happen it will not be with the services of Doughty patrolling the blueline this postseason. Doughty has only played 39 games this season but posted 7 goals and 24 assists for 31 points. He has been a fixture on the Kings’ blueline, winning two Stanley Cups and a before-mentioned Norris Trophy.
With this void on the roster, the Kings will rely heavily on the youngsters that have filled this role for most of the season. The core of Sean Durzi, Jordan Spence, Jacob Moverare, Austin Strand, and Troy Stecher has done well all things considered. The majority of the offense will go through Durzi and Spence to fill the hole offensively that has gone through Doughty his entire career. Doughty will be ready for next season, more determined and focused than ever.
Until then the organization will get a longer look at the youth that the Kings have on the blueline to fill that gap. If the Kings do make the playoffs the young defensive core will have the biggest spotlight on them to perform and play the best hockey of their young career
Doughty will return. Doughty will again assume the top pairing defensive role. Doughty will once again run the offense. This is a temporary setback that will be fixed. However, do the young group of defensemen have what it takes to step up and hold down the fort while their leader is out?
(photo: lakingsinsider.com; Zach Dooley) (photo: jewelsfromthecornw.com; Sie Morley)