Player evaluation: Doughty


This season: 81 games, 6 goals, 21 assists, 56 penalty minutes, 23:50 average ice time.
The good: Where to begin? It wasn’t a surprise when Doughty made the team out of training camp, because he was considered “NHL-ready” when the Kings picked him last June, but did anyone really anticipate that Doughty would be this good? All Doughty did was play 81 games, lead the Kings in ice time and log big minutes on the power-play and penalty-kill units. Was Doughty in the class of a Nicklas Lidstrom? No, of course not, but it’s hard to imagine a 19-year-old defenseman being much better than Doughty was this season.
The bad: There are some edges to be smoothed out, to be certain, but to criticize Doughty’s game would be to trivialize how difficult it is for a teenager to play defense in the NHL.
Going forward: The only question here is, “How good can Doughty be?” The only knock on Doughty before the draft — if you can call it that — is that he was closer to being a “finished product” than some of the other prospects. That might be true, but how many of those other defensemen will ever be as good as Doughty was as a rookie? The fact is that there is still some room for improvement, and Doughty’s challenge will be to avoid a sophomore slump.

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