Drew Doughty Still Has Room to Grow with Los Angeles Kings in 2014-15

Drew Doughty was recently named the world’s best defenseman by NHL.com, but he has probably deserved the distinction since a jaw-dropping postseason showing in 2012.

His impressive resume contains two Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals, and he was at the heart of each of those triumphs. When the chips are down in high-stakes tournaments, the linchpin of the Los Angeles Kings’ blue line consistently delivers the goods.

For the league’s 29 other clubs, the terrifying part of this narrative is that he’s still only 24 years old.

He hasn’t come close to peaking yet. 

While Doughty is already a superb three-zone rearguard and the top big-game defenseman around—maybe the top big-game player around—a few refinements could vault him into even more rarefied air. 

Forget outlandish point totals and laughable Norris Trophy voting: This is about how Doughty can attain his otherworldly ceiling within the Kings’ team-first system.


Power Play

Though few can dictate the flow of the game like Doughty at even strength, his performance on the man advantage leaves something to be desired. 

The additional space afforded by a power play seems to unsettle the typically poised blueliner, bringing forth slower and more apprehensive choices in lieu of the conviction he displays in other situations.

One gets the impression that he’s petrified at the thought of making the wrong play.

Doughty’s hesitancy is reflected in his puck-possession metrics.

At five-on-five, he’s earned a reputation as one of the finest possession defensemen around, continually driving play toward the opposition’s net.

At five-on-four, his on-ice Corsi (plus-85.28) and relative on-ice Corsi (minus-13.0) ranked last and second-last respectively among Kin...

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