Who Should Los Angeles Kings Pair with Drew Doughty for Rest of 2014-15?

While the Los Angeles Kings are gradually finding their stride, the club must still remedy a few issues in order to extend its hot streak and clinch a playoff berth.

Most notably, L.A. needs to address its top defensive pairing. All-Star blueliner Drew Doughty has performed very well for most of the season, but he’s been hampered by a revolving door of partners on the left side.

Jake Muzzin and Robyn Regehr have struggled in different ways, and that simply won’t cut it in crunch time.

Where should the coaching staff turn?


Jake Muzzin

When the Kings signed Muzzin to a five-year, $20 million extension in the offseason, the expectation was that he would patrol the top pairing’s left side for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, he’s been one of the team’s glaring underperformers this season.

Messy puck management and ill-advised risks have ravaged his game, relegating him to the third group next to Matt Greene on many nights. That has streamlined his approach, but in spot duty next to Doughty since then, his bugaboos have resurfaced.

It appears that he just can’t handle a high level of competition this season:

Both Doughty and Muzzin’s numbers are much stronger when they’re apart. Frankly, Doughty's numbers away from Muzzin would warrant a Norris Trophy.

The lost chemistry between the two can nevertheless be found over the long term. Where this particular year is concerned, though, the Cup-winning duo isn’t playing up to snuff.

Doughty requires a steady defenseman he can trust in terms of decision-making and positioning.

Too often in 2014-15, Muzzin has gambled at inopportune moments and put his partner in a bind. Moreover, his passing has looked entirely careless.

Sure, his puck-possession stats are stellar, as...

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