Drew Doughty made it clear that California is where his heart is.
The Los Angeles Kings defenceman made waves on Saturday when he said regarding his potential free agency: “I don’t give a s— where I play. I just want to win Cups, and that’s the bottom line.”
Doughty spoke to Lisa Dillman of NHL.com on Tuesday, clarifying those remarks, which sparked speculation that the 27-year-old could bolt after the 2018-19 season.
“I don’t want to go anywhere else,” said Doughty. “My one comment, ‘I don’t care where I play. I just want to win [Stanley] Cups.’ That is true. I just want to win Cups.
“When I said that, it didn’t mean I didn’t want to do it in L.A. The bottom line is all I care about is Cups. I don’t want to win a Cup anywhere else but L.A. That’s the bottom line.”
The 2015-16 Norris Trophy winner will have no shortage of suitors should he reach unrestricted free agency. The two-way blueliner has been among the very best at his position since being drafted second overall by the Kings in 2008.
He’s already won two Stanley Cups with Los Angeles, but the team has taken a step back from its earlier dominance in recent seasons.
The Kings have missed the playoffs twice, and were eliminated in five games by rival San Jose in their only post-season appearance since their 2014 Stanley Cup victory.
General manager Dean Lombardi and head coach Darryl Sutter were relieved of their duties in April, replaced by Rob Blake and John Stevens.
“It is one of the best organizations in sports,” said Doughty, though he later admitted he understood why his comments caused such a fuss.
“I know people read it like that,” he said. “That’s not entirely how I meant it. At the same time, you never know what could happen. We might not come to an agreement on a contract. They might not want to sign me for what I want, vice versa.
“Things can happen. You just never know what can happen. So I may not be here. But I want to be here. I’m pretty sure the L.A. Kings and all our teammates want me to be here too. I’m sure something will happen and we will get it done. It’s so far away, so many things can happen.”