O’Donnell impressed with Doughty

The Kings spent all summer, and a big chunk of training camp, trying to find a veteran left-shot defenseman to pair with Drew Doughty, and they eventually traded with the Ducks to acquire Sean O’Donnell. By all accounts, the trade has worked out well for the Kings. O’Donnell has been a responsible defender and penalty-killer and has been a reliable mentor for Doughty, the Kings’ 18-year-old rookie. O’Donnell talked about Doughty’s progress and his role in helping Doughty develop…

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Question: Have you ever been partnered with an 18-year-old before?

O’DONNELL: “I had Aki Berg when he first came to L.A., but I think Drew is mentally more mature, and Aki had to deal with the language barrier too, which was tough, being away from home and being in a different country and stuff. Drew is 18 going on 25 out there, maturity wise.”

Question: This might be a tough question for you to answer, but do you feel like you’ve been good for him?

O’DONNELL: “I don’t know if he needs much calming down. He’s a pretty poised guy. I think there’s been some times when we’ve talked about some things, and I’d like to think I’ve helped a little bit. I can’t take a lot of credit, when you have a guy who has that much talent and who is that level-headed, but if I can even give him a little bit of direction, it makes me feel pretty good.”

Question: What’s the biggest surprise with him? What should he be struggling with that he’s not?

O’DONNELL: “Thinking through the game, and the poise. We played Detroit the other day and Detroit, not only are they good, but they’re smart and they can pick apart a player who overcommits to a play or runs around too much. I thought he did a real good job of just letting the play come to him. He gets the game. He understands what the other teams are trying to do, and when you do that you’re able to anticipate what they’re trying to do and your positioning is a lot better. I think that’s one of the things that Drew is lucky with. Not only does he have the physical ability, he also gets the game, and that’s a great combination. Not too many people can do that.”

Question: Is there still some significant room for improvement there?

O’DONNELL: “Oh yeah. I think he’s still very raw. I think maybe sometimes he tries to do too much at times. He’s been head and shoulders above everyone else, for the last two or three years, at his level, and maybe he tries to do a little bit too much. I try to talk to him a little bit, but you don’t want to crush that. You don’t want him to think that every time he gets the puck, he should just throw it off the glass and make the safe play, but there are also certain times in a game, and with certain lines, where you want to keep it simple. That’s just part of growing in the game, and part of the maturity that comes with the more games you play in this league.”

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  • Irish Pat

    Funny how O’Donnell refers to Doughty as more “mentally mature” than Aki Berg. That’s one way to refer to that knucklehead’s game. I still cringe when I hear that name… Aaaakiii… it’s like a ghost on Halloween.

    I’m happy Lombardi traded for O’Donnell. He comes off as thoughtful in the interview with Rich and doesn’t just spew cliches and hyperbole regarding Doughty’s development. Insightful stuff.

  • nykingfan

    OD might turn out to be one of the best trades DL ever makes for LA.

    I can’t believe how lucky we are that we got to draft Doughty. Can you imagine if we got Stamkos and he failed to produce a point for us? I think we would all be calling for DL’s head.
    I’ll continue to believe DL would have chosen Doughty all along. He’s smart enough to know you win with defense.

  • hipcheck

    Aki Berg could have been a very good player. The problem was he was thrown into the NHL before he was ready not to mention playing on a horrible Kings team. Had the Kings had Manchester at that time, Aki could have a bit better acclimation to the Pro Levels and probably been a very solid top 4 Dman.

  • Kevco

    OK who is better, JMFJ or DD, assuming JMFJ was playing right now?

  • deadcatbounce

    At this stage in their careers, I think who’s better is irrelevant. Besides, one is playing and the other is hurt. Who has a more potential? Both were highly touted coming into the league and I just hope that they can develop to their potential. If they do, the Kings should have a solid blue line for years.

  • Maverick

    @Kevco

    Jack Johnson. Though there is no need for this comparison. They are both very gifted young players. I would not so easily forget we were saying the same things about Jack last season. Also don’t forget that Jack had shackles on him and was told not to “go for it” Doughty has been given the green light to experiment…

    Murray is miles and miles a better youth coach than Crawford. What is worse? Allowing a goal against in a early season game or having a future young franchise defenseman learn a lesson and become that much better for the rest of his career? The Kings know what they have with both defensemen and they are now developing him the right way.

    Jack Johnson, I dare say, has better puck skills than Doughty, but lacks the same hockey IQ which could probably be attributed to playing in the NCAA. But he has certainly retained his knowledge from his “playing with Sid” days. Look for both to become cornerstone franchise defensemen for this club. We should be giving these young guys more slack to grow. Look for JMFJ to be very hungry when he returns.

  • Duracell

    Why do we have to compare the two (Johnson and Doughty), does it really matter who is better? Comparing them, especially now when one is on the IR is pointless and such a huge waste of time.

    FACT: The Kings have both of them.

    Personally I hope they BOTH turn into Hall of Fame type players with the Kings Org.

  • jet

    A better question may be, who is going to have the best D in three years Andy or Terry Murray?

  • Duckhunter

    Why is everyone so sensitive about that question? Kevco, I like the question.

  • Canadian Hockey Fan

    Let us review…

    Drew Doughty has a World junior Hockey Tournament gold medal. Jack Johnson does not.

    Drew Doughty is playing in the NHL at 18. Jack Johnson was at least 20 in his rookie year if memory serves.

    Drew Doughty had a +7 rating as of prior to the game this evening. Has Jack Johnson ever even been a cumulative plus rated player at any point over his NHL career? Didn’t think so.

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