Drew Doughty takes ice heavier in wallet but lighter on skates
Heavier in the wallet, and lighter on the ice …
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, proving again that you can be richer and thinner, was getting reacquainted with his usual line of work in El Segundo on Friday afternoon after signing an eight-year, $56-million contract with the organization.
Before a quick session on the ice, Doughty met with a handful of reporters and disclosed that he is 203 pounds, about seven pounds under his usual playing weight.
Now back to those other, well, important numbers, more meaningful than the Kings’ 3-1 victory against the Ducks at Honda Center on Friday night.
Though Doughty is the Kings’ highest-paid player — by average annual value — teammate Anze Kopitar will receive more in actual payments over the next five years, by design. The first five years of Doughty’s deal are worth $33.3 million to Kopitar’s $35.6 million.
The ending might have been sweet, but the journey pretty much stunk, according to Doughty.
“I didn’t plan being back home in London [Canada] for that long,” the 21-year-old said. “I had a lot of stress going on. The season was approaching. I was counting down the days till the season started.
“At first, I didn’t want to miss camp, either. I’m not happy that I had to go through all that. But it’s done and I’m happy I’m here. I apologize to all those who had to patiently wait for me to get here.”
Count Kings Coach Terry Murray among the patient ones.
“There shouldn’t be any animosity whatsoever,” Murray said. “This is just business in pro sports today. Players and the agent doing what they feel they need to do in order to get a contract resolved. It happens. He was not [saying], ‘I don’t want to play.’ He wants to be an L.A King.”
Doughty won’t play Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche in Las Vegas but might play in the final exhibition game Tuesday in Hamburg, Germany. The Kings won’t be using a light touch with him.
“Gas pedal right to the floorboards,” Murray said.
It was offered that it sounded like a sports-car approach.
“Lamborghini approach,” Murray said, smiling.
Certainly, Doughty could raid a dealership. For now, it will be simpler things, such as getting his old spot back in the dressing room, the space now occupied by defenseman Slava Voynov.
“He bought it. He can afford it,” Kings defenseman Matt Greene said of Doughty. “It’s great. Everybody was confident it was going to happen. It was just a matter of time.”
With Europe beckoning — both teams open the regular season overseas — the Kings and Ducks were especially active. The Kings signed right wing Trent Hunter to a one-year contract worth $600,000. Hunter, who was drafted by the Ducks in 1998 but never played a regular-season game in Anaheim, was in camp on a free-agent tryout. … The Kings reassigned skilled center Andrei Loktionov to their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H. … Dustin Penner was a late scratch for the Kings, as Murray said he wanted to see Dwight King one more time. … Goaltender Jonathan Bernier went the distance for the Kings, facing 29 shots, and Jonas Hiller and Dan Ellis split time in goal for the Ducks. Hiller, who started, faced 13 shots and gave up one goal. … The game-winner came from Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell in the third period, and he joked about it, saying: “It’s preseason. A guy who only scores five a year, you don’t want to use them up in the preseason. We were talking about that afterward. ‘Hey, you only get five a year, defensive defenseman, you want to save them for the season.’ ” … Earlier, the Ducks sent defenseman Bryan Rodney to their AHL affiliate in Syracuse, N.Y. Forward Patrick Maroon is expected to follow, assuming he clears waivers.
Times staff writer Helene Elliott contributed to this report.
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