Drew Doughty on free agency: I want to stay an L.A. King

Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty, right, congratulates centre Anze Kopitar, after Kopitar scored a goal. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

Drew Doughty says he wants to sign a new contract with the Los Angeles Kings, the only team he’s ever known in the NHL.

“I always wanted to be an L.A. King and I want to stay an L.A. King,” Doughty said Friday, according to NHL.com. “I can’t remember what day we can start talking, but I’m sure we will when the time comes.”

Doughty, 29, addressed his contract situation at the team’s locker clean out after the Kings were swept by the Vegas Golden Knights in the opening round of the playoffs. He will be a free agent on July 1, 2019 when he finishes an eight-year, $56 million contract.

Doughty said he likes the direction the team is headed and wants to be a part of the future.

“(General manager) Rob Blake and (team president) Luc Robitaille, they took this job because they want to win and they want to transform this team into their winning ways again,” Doughty said. “Whether or not they do a lot in the off-season, I don’t know, but we have these young guys coming up that I think are going to make a difference. I think that shows me how much potential we have in the future and I’m good with it and I’m happy to hopefully re-sign here.”


Doughty made headlines earlier in the year when he mentioned that he and fellow 2019 free agent defenceman Erik Karlsson would discuss their next contracts

“I know I’m going to talk to Karlsson back and forth, kind of see what money he’s looking for,” Doughty said in an interview with The Athletic in November. “I’ll kind of look at what money I’m looking for. I don’t know if he’s going to re-sign with Ottawa. I don’t know if I’ll re-sign with L.A. You just never know what’s going to happen.”

Doughty and Karlsson both are allowed to begin negotiating with their teams this summer. In the same interview in November, Doughty suggested that he and Karlsson would look to P.K. Subban and his $9 million salary with the Nashville Predators as a comparable in negotiations.

“Right now, I guess we’d be gauging off what P.K. makes. I think both of us deserve quite a bit more than that,” Doughty said.

The Kings drafted Doughty second overall in 2008 and since then he has become one of the best defencemen in the league. In 770 regular season games he has 102 goals, 422 points and a plus-93 rating. In 84 playoff games, he has 16 goals and 51 points.

Doughty’s also a two-time Stanley Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist. He has been a finalist for the Norris Trophy four times, including this year, and he won it in 2016.

Needless to say, he’s going to get a big pay raise in 2019.

Sportsnet’s Iain McIntyre looked at what the Kings should do heading into a contract negotiation with Doughty in a recent column.

“If you’re the Kings and in transition, are you going to pay Doughty, say, $100 million for eight more seasons?” asked McIntyre in the piece. “Or are you going to speed the transformation of your roster by getting a bundle of assets in return for the best defenceman in the game?”

These are the questions the team will be asking in the months ahead. July 2019 is a long way off, but whatever Doughty and the Kings decide will affect the team for years to come.

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