Drew Doughty’s looming free agency won’t be a distraction, Kings GM says

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty (8) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

Drew Doughty’s looming free agency keeps popping up like mushrooms on a lawn, but Kings general manager Rob Blake isn’t about to take out his gardening gloves.

For the third time since training camp, Doughty this week left open the possibility that he wouldn’t re-sign with the Kings when his contract expires after next season. Blake said Thursday he’s not concerned about Doughty’s future with the Kings becoming a distraction.

“Not at all,” Blake said. “I’m not worried about that. He’s going to learn that he’s going to be asked those questions, but he’s a long way from being unrestricted. It’s not like he’s unrestricted here in a month.”


The Kings are eligible to re-sign Doughty July 1 and are not permitted to negotiate an extension before that date. Doughty has spoke candidly about his situation and he told The Athletic he would consult with fellow Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators to estimate the financial numbers. Karlsson’s contract also expires following the 2018-19 season.

This could be the first big negotiation for Blake since he replaced Dean Lombardi as general manager this year. Doughty is having another Norris-like season and can legitimately command more than his $7-million salary cap charge, the same as Karlsson. The Kings already have $10 million going out to Anze Kopitar, per his eight-year contract extension in 2016.

Doughty said in September that he wants to remain a King and reiterated that sentiment in Toronto last month. But he’s continually couched his stance with the possibility he could go elsewhere.

Doughty referenced Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban as a starting point for negotiation for him and Karlsson. Subban’s cap hit is $9 million per season.

“Right now, we’d be gauging off what Subban makes,” Doughty told the Athletic. “I think both of us deserve quite a bit more than that.”



Andy Andreoff “had some issues” following his upper-body injury from a fight with the Ducks’ Kevin Bieksa but is expected to be available when he comes off injured reserve Saturday.

“As of [Wednesday], all the reports are good,” Blake said … Torrey Mitchell’s status was unclear as of Thursday morning and he was not with the Kings as he tries to get immigration clearance…. There remains no timetable on Jeff Carter (ankle) and Blake couldn’t commit to a post-All-Star break for his return. “He’s not anytime soon,” Blake said.

Twitter: @curtiszupke