Drew Doughty Reportedly Rejects Kings’ Latest Offer: What Comes Next?

Jim Neveau, Senior NHL Columnist

All summer long, a drama has been brewing in Hollywood that is threatening to shape the course of coming events in a big way. No, we’re not talking about the long-awaited finale to the HBO show “Entourage”. The saga being discussed here is the one revolving around Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, who is seeking a new contract from the team since he’s a restricted free agent. He is looking for a significant raise from the nearly $3.5 million he made in the 2010-11 season, but according to reports that surfaced today, he may be looking for a raise that is bigger than anyone could have anticipated.

According to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet.ca, Doughty has declined a nine-year, $61.2 million contract from the Kings. He also has turned down others offers besides this generous one, according to Kypreos, and reactions of shock cascaded throughout the internets. The $6.8 million salary he would have earned with this contract would have made him the team’s highest paid defenseman by $2.5 million over Jack Johnson, who just signed an extension earlier this year, and would tie him with Anze Kopitar as the highest paid player on the team.

Before we get to whether or not Doughty was nuts to turn down that kind of money, let’s take a quick peek at his career stats. He has respectable numbers on offense, scoring 33 goals and dishing out 93 assists in 239 career games. Last season he was eighth on the team in scoring, bagging 40 points. He has been even better in the playoffs, scoring five goals and adding six assists in 12 career postseason contests. Needless to say, Doughty is a solid performer on both sides of the ice, and so he definitely has to figure prominently in the Kings’ future plans.

Among the multitude of questions that this latest development brings up is a simple one: how on Earth can Doughty have turned down such a deal? It is highly unlikely that he would get an offer that’s any better than this one, whether it be from the Kings or on the open market, and to turn down that kind of money after only having been in the league suggests either some serious hubris or a lack of common sense. Either way, it is a surprise that Doughty would spurn that type of offer, and it leaves both him and the Kings in an interesting position.

Drew Doughty (BridgetDS/Flickr)

The issue that’s arisen now is where the Kings will go from here with their offer. Assuming that the report by Kypreos is true, are the Kings going to ratchet up the dollars to make Doughty their highest paid player? Will they sign him to a one year contract a la Alexander Semin or Zach Parise? Or, as some have already begun to suggest, will they attempt to trade him since he has been thus far unwilling to sign?

There are two scenarios that are the most likely to play out at this point. Conventional wisdom would dictate that the team will likely cave and give him a slightly higher salary than the $6.8 million offered, but they will almost certainly lower the term on the deal. The fact of the matter is that Doughty is an extremely talented player, but he doesn’t have a very long track record with which to justify giving him a big deal. He is looking for elite level defenseman money, and while that’s all well and good in a sport where you have to strike while the iron’s hot financially, he simply hasn’t done enough to be the highest paid player on a team, much less one like the Kings, who already have a ton of salary on the books for many years to come.

If that is the route that the Kings choose to take, you’re probably going to be looking at a deal of four to five years in length, with the money probably working out to around $7.2 million a season. Paying a guy with only three years of NHL experience more than Anze Kopitar is not something that Kings GM Dean Lombardi wants to do, but that might end up being what it takes to get him signed.

Of course, Doughty probably wouldn’t want to sign for such a brief period of time. He is likely looking for some long term security judging by the deal that Los Angeles offered him, but there is little reason to believe that his annual salary will exceed that $6.8 million threshold. Since that won’t be the case, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Doughty’s camp asked for a one-year contract to get him into the fold for the 2011-12 season, and to afford him the opportunity to re-sign with the team with a longer time frame to work with.

As for the possibility of Doughty being traded, it really doesn’t exist. There is no way that the Kings would be willing to part with a guy that they clearly feel is part of the future of their team, so barring an insanely lucrative offer for the defenseman, Drew isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and if he does, then there needs to be a Congressional investigation as to whether or not Lombardi lost his marbles.

Another minor possibility could be a holdout by the youngster. While it would be stunning to see something like that in today’s day and age, but if you’ll recall, Jack Ferreira, special assistant to the GM for the Kings, had some comments on this back in August. He told The Press-Enterprise “they don’t want to make a deal. They’re not ready to make a deal….I would not be surprised if he was a holdout.”

Those comments came a month ago, but if the team is taking things seriously enough to make statements in the media like that, then it could be a serious possibility. One thing to keep in mind, however, is something that Greg Wyshynski brought up in his piece on Ferreira’s comments: they could have just as easily been a negotiating ploy to make Doughty look like the bad guy. If the current reports of his rejection of the latest contract offer are true, however, then apparently those comments didn’t have that effect on his approach to these proceedings.

The Doughty contract saga may not be the only drama surrounding the Kings this off-season (the team’s battle with the Oilers over Colin Fraser being another), but it has put a bit of a damper over what largely has been a successful effort to revitalize the team. Bringing in Mike Richards gives the team some solid depth up the middle, and it has made them into a bona fide contender for the Pacific Division. Whatever way the Doughty situation turns out, there is one common theme that can be assigned to it: it has taken way too long in the eyes of fans in the City of Angels, and they won’t rest easy until #8 is back on the ice with his name on a freshly signed contract.

 

 

James Neveau

James Neveau

James started out for The Hockey Writers covering the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009, and has also covered the Chicago Blackhawks, served as NHL Correspondent, and is now a Managing Editor and the site's NHL Central Blogger. He also writes for The Golf Writers.

24 Comments

  1. Like Schenn in Toronto, I really don’t know what the guy wants. I think his agent needs to be checked out as well, the offer for a young defenceman, and ‘D’s seem to get hurt more often than forwards, with the long term implications was one hell of a deal. I hope they trade him, bring him down to earth to go to someplace like the New York Islanders and display your talents to empty seats!

  2. Wanna know why Doughty is asking for more money? Because he can. It’s as simple as that. Professional athletes are paid what the market will bear for their services; all of you people who whine about the amount of money that these athletes make need to realize this fact. Why shouldn’t he try to get the absolute best possible deal for himself at the present time?

    • Actually, there is a suggestion in the media that the “leaking” of this rejected offer is way late and that it was declined earlier in the summer. Most speculation goes on that it is not the money that is the issue … the organizaton will throw as much of it’s profits at any player that it deems necessary to make even more money … but the term. Ergo, there is a young kid being faced with a major decision who is not sure he wants to play in L.A. for his entire NHL career. Relax. They’ll come to an agreement and maybe it Doughty plays a few more years, meets a nice life mate, he might decide to be a King forever. Any one who begrudges these athletes their pay should remember they have given up their lives to get where they are and, the majority, have given up their futures too. Meanwhile, many owners and franchies are making money hand over fist … well, maybe not N.J.

  3. what a selifsh pile of trash.

    all sports players are over paid. EXTREMELY OVERPAID

    • Overpaid? What, in your opinion, would be a ‘proper’ salary for these athletes? Who should be the recipients of the billions and billions of dollars the four major professional sports leagues bring in each and every year? Like it or not, pro sports is big business and, in a free market economy, the market dictates the value of commodities (players). Accordingly, your post just comes off as uninformed and jealous. As a wise West Coast rapper once said, “Don’t hate the player; hate the game.”

  4. What a jerk! I can’t believe he doesn’t want to sign his life away for nine years! I would do anything to live in L.A. for nine years! Gimme a break. Athletes sign ridiculous terms for truckloads of money and you call them greedy. They refuse to sign these contracts and you call them selfish? Brilliant analysis.

    As for no player being bigger than the team, what a load of hogwash. Teams are run so that one, or two players are the backbone of the team. Their removal from the team either hampers or cripples the team.

    This is a business and L.A. would not hesitate to drop, screw, trade or otherwise mess up Doughty’s life and career if it was to their benefit and their “generosity” is nothing but a calculated move to get what they want. Any one who thinks they are honoring Doughty or rewarding him really needs to smarten up.

    Doughty is lucky to be as good as he is. It might give him the leverage to get the contract he wants. It remains to be seen what that is but I believe the issue will is term.

  5. Send him to the minor’s long bus ride’s lousy hotel’s he’ll smarten up maybe.He’s not that great Tyler Meyer’s is better then him.

  6. Kings fan since 72 says:

    The summer has shown a real immaturity on DD’s part…his team, and that’s what it’s all about, has put together the strongest group of players we have seen in the recent past. Going into camp, he remains unsigned rather than show some leadership and join the group. At this point, if he signs, he’s going to have to show me something on the ice before I put my hands together and root for him. If I’m his team mate, he comes across selfish and unable to come to terms with a team that wants him signed. My message to DD is you still have to prove yourself to a lot of fans, on the ice, you didn’t show up for some games last year, sign your deal and get your rear into camp, hopefully in shape.

    • Kings Fan Since72 (copy cat) says:

      How does someone have my Name*? Who ever wrote the above is not the real Kings Fan Since72, I am. Kinda strange I have been using that name for years on blogs and hockey sites all over and someone now uses it? Sounds like a set up to me. Unless its a coincidence? Hmmmmm.

      Anyways, Doughty the donut’s agent is jackn him, making him out to be calling the shots. He’s following orders from his agent, and it will ruin the Kings fans perception of him. He needs to get rid of that guy and come to his senses on whats fair and good for the team. He will be Rob Blake in no time at all and be run outta town…..but I hope not. He’s drinkn to many beers down in Hermosa. Concentrate foolio.

  7. Give him 10 mil and send him to WInnipeg if he wants to be a little baby. Did he watch his games last year? he wasn’t worth 6 mil.

  8. cut him ! trade him what a primadonna NOBODY is bigger than the team.

  9. HI Jim
    Like the analysis. The talking points from Wysh and if the Kings are trying to undermine Doughty .. with the naughty talk? They ought to tread carefully ..
    some players take these things personally ..
    Free agency and especially restricted FA is based on … what agents think the market will bear … which is??? There’s the rub
    His agent turns down $6.8 mill … ? is the threshold $7.1 … $7.5 mill and is this a cowboy move?
    Are agents factoring in the concussion factor? Arguing that a player’s career can be over in a blink?
    You are right Jim.. it’s an extraordinary turn down … and is $500,000 to 700,000 more per year worth the hfboards chat room griping and all that negative press on both sides??
    Remember .. it’s not too long ago .. Grant Fuhr used to wander into Sather’s suite at contract time without an agent.. Glen would negotiate .. they’d shake hands .. and then Sather would put his star goaltender on an expense account…
    Now Fuhr was a notoriously ill-equipped money manager .. but sheesh!
    I think GMs miss those good old days..
    Thanks for the update Jim .. good stuff
    Gav

  10. I hate guys who hold teams hostage like this, he does not deserve that kind of money yet. Just let him go, send a message and let him go dont forget the Kings have pleanty of good D waiting for a chance, they might not be as good but to me its better to have a good player that wants to be on the team and greatful for the chance to play in the NHL, than to have a premadonna who thinks his s**t dont stink and will case problems in the locker. Dean get ridd of him you have our blessing the Kings can win it all without him.

  11. Big D hockey guru says:

    Drew,you need a new agent,he is leading you down the path for a new city zip code.Do you think you are the “one ” on the new Kings revamped team.You Mr.Doughty are not the One on this new Kings team.How can you after only a short career demand top d money?you had a great rookie year,but the follow up year was okay,at best.not worth 7m.per year,
    let him go

  12. Is this Doughty rejecting these offers, or is this his agent giving him bad advice.
    I’m all for getting paid, but as talented as Doughty is, he could potentially divide the locker room, due to this whole very public negotiation process.
    Unfortunetly there are a lot of Kings fans in his corner, and the longer this goes on, and the more reports of him turning down very lucrative offers, the more fans will change their minds.
    If this becomes a stalemate, Thomas Hickey, Slava Voynov might get their chance to play some games with the Kings.
    I am not sure how much a 7 mill contract would impact the CAP, but I think Lombardi is playing poker again, and there is the potential he might lose.
    Hockey is a team sport, and nobody is bigger than the team. With or without Doughty the Kings the Kings are still a great team.
    With or without Doughty, the Kings still have plenty of defenseman who would love a chance at playing in the NHL this season.
    With or without Doughty, the Kings are still going to play.

    • I am pretty sure you are right…that this is primarily the agent’s doing. However, Drew has the final say. Where is his dad? This kid needs to be brought back down to earth before his agent destroys him.

  13. Doughty is one of the top 10 defensemen in the NHL. Possibly top 5. The $6.8MM for a 21 year old is good and probably about right. But the $6.8MM for a 30 year old in 9 years is drastically under market. If we took the $6.8MM for the first year and applied a 4% per annum increase to the value the 9 year value would be $72MM or an annual cap hit of $8MM. Something in the middle seems about right. If LA want him for 9 years they must be willing to pay.

  14. Long Suffering Kings Fan says:

    A shorter term deal for more money makes sense. It seems that every team that has the mega length deals suffers buyer’s remorse at some point. 4 years, pay him more than Kopitar if necessary, but get it done now!

  15. Doughty in LA, Schenn in Toronto: same problem. greedy agents driving greed in young players. As soon as a team’s fortunes begin to turn and/or a player gets hurt, and can’t play to full expectations, the Press is awash with stories on how the Team can’t sign free agents in this Cap era because they are stuck with a huge salary to some overpaid prima-donna. don’t any of these guys read the newspapers? Sign for a decent salary, play well, leave the team some wiggle room so they can put more talent on the ice to help you win, and keep a low(er) profile–maybe if things begin to sour a bit, your team will cut you some slack and provide some support. THAT, you can’t put into $dollars$.

  16. LA Hockey Girl says:

    This saga is really putting a bad taste in my mouth. If the Kings gave him several different options to choose from, why can’t he pick one of them that is satisfactory. Either its more money for fewer years–which even though he will be a UFA, it means he has to play VERY well to earn that kind of money. But clearly DD doesn’t get that he hasn’t earned the kind of money he wants. He has great talent and potential, but until he is REALLY THE MAN, he is earning those dollars based on HYPE not on reality.

    I’d hate to see him go to another team, but I’m starting to lose respect for the guy who claims to want to be a King.

    I think, what DL didn’t consider when he traded Simmonds, is that DD is going to play hardball, because his best friend was traded, and he sees that hockey is all about business and looking out for yourself. And that is what DD is doing right now, but he’s still too young and arrogant to recognize that big dollar contracts typically go to those who deserve it.

    • “He has great talent and potential,”

      And that is exactly it…he has POTENTIAL. Yes, he had a great rookie season, So have plenty of other players who went on to so-so or slightly above average careers. Sign him for a year and tell him “show us you are truly worth being the highest paid player on the team.” Then it’s up to him. If he doesn’t like it, let the spoiled brat sit. It isn’t like he can go play anywhere else. He’s holding the entire organization hostage and that’s only going to create bad feelings in the locker room.

  17. Could it be that Doughty is indeed looking for a slightly shorter term, say 4 years, since that would take him to his UFA eligibility status (7 years in NHL) at which time he could hit the market and reap an even more generous contract?

    If I’m the Kings, I’d want to sign him for as long a term as possible but if I’m Doughty, a shorter term may work better for him (assuming he reaches his potential and doesn’t get hurt) because the offers he would get in 4 years as a UFA would be absolutely mind boggling (exhibit A: Ehrhoff’s contract with the Sabres this year).

    • Trade his ass…He cares nothing about the LA Kings, just lookin for the BIG payday…Who cares what he’s worth 9 years from now???????? They are offering him ‘Never need another contract’ kinda $$$….And he had a nothing year last year…Perhaps he should wait til his team actually goes somewhere, playoff-wise??????????