Here’s what Drew Doughty had to say today about making the Kings as an 18-year-old defenseman. Doughty had the inside track to a roster spot all along, but he passed every test the Kings put in front of him in rookie camp and training camp, and now he has a veteran partner in Sean O’Donnell. Here’s what Doughty had to say about how things have gone for him…
Question: How are you feeling after making the team in your first training camp?
DOUGHTY: “I’m feeling great. I knew coming in that the NHL is going to be a huge jump, but I feel I’ve adjusted well. My first game, after the first couple shifts I thought it was a new game. The more the preseason kept going on and the more games I got, it just kept going better. I feel good and I’m really looking forward to the season starting.”
Question: Do you have any expectations, as far as goals for yourself?
DOUGHTY: “You know, I haven’t really thought of that. My first goal was just to make this team, and I did that. Now that I know I have a spot, I have to work to continue to keep my spot and just do everything I can to become a better player and learn from the older guys.”
Question: How about the team?
DOUGHTY: “We’re young, but we have a great group of guys. Not only are we a good team on the ice but we have a great group off the ice as well, some really nice guys, so it’s perfect. We have some high expectations on this club for this year.”
Question: You have one of the youngest captains in the league now in Dustin Brown. What have you seen from him?
DOUGHTY: “He’s a great player and a great leader. He works his hardest every day and he’s the best player on the ice in practice and in the games he works as hard as he can. I actually roomed with him on the road and he’s a great guy. He has taught me a lot already.”
Question: What’s been the biggest adjustment so far, and what area do you still need to improve?
DOUGHTY: “Just the speed and the smarts of all the guys. Back playing in the CHL, there’s guys who aren’t going to be in position and stuff like that. Here, not that it’s easier by any means, but it’s easier because your teammates are always in the right positions, so you can know to look for a guy and you know he’s going to be there. It’s easier in that way, but obviously it’s much harder playing up with the older guys.”
Question: What’s it been like playing with your new partner (Sean O’Donnell)?
DOUGHTY: “He’s been great. He talks to me after every shift. During practice, he’s always talking to me, just telling me little things. He’s helped me a lot. He’s so good out there, just very composed and does everything so easily, and I learn a lot from him.”
Question: You’ve beeen getting a lot of power-play time in the preseason too. Seems like they’re throwing a lot at you here…
DOUGHTY: “That’s probably one of the stronger points of my game. I really enjoy playing on the power play. They have me out there with Stoll and he’s got a great shot from the point, so hopefully I can just feed him some across and he will put them in the net.”