Kings’ Darryl Sutter on Drew Doughty: ‘He’s the best defenseman in the league’

Drew Doughty plays for the Kings against Boston on Feb. 9.

Drew Doughty plays for the Kings against Boston on Feb. 9.

(Winslow Townson / Associated Press)

Almost unexpectedly, Kings Coach Darryl Sutter (re)launched the “Drew Doughty for Norris Trophy” campaign Thursday morning.

Sutter didn’t start it without prompting. He was asked a question about the Kings defenseman, who is receiving strong consideration for the award given to the league’s top defenseman.

“They’re just going to give it to the defensemen with the most points,” Sutter said after the morning skate. “Change the award. He’s the best defenseman in the league.

“Easy. Not even close. Every situation, he’s the best defenseman I’ve seen. I don’t jump on guys’ wagons because I coach them or because we’re playing against them.”


The Kings are 2-3 on this trip and play the Blues on Thursday night. Defenseman Jamie McBain, who had been a healthy scratch the past five games, appears likely to be back in, along with center Andy Andreoff. That means center Nick Shore and rookie defenseman Kevin Gravel look to be the odd men out.

Doughty, 26, has 11 goals and 36 points in 56 games and is a plus-14.

“A year older, a year better,” Sutter said. “Hopefully when he’s 36, they’re saying he’s having his best year.”

Sutter looked to Chicago to make a comparison, referencing defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. Keith, like Doughty, has won two Olympic gold medals with Team Canada, and Seabrook has won one.

“It’s hard to explain it, what he’s got already,” Sutter said. “For a resume. How many other guys 26 years old, other than probably Duncan and Brent, can say they’ve got what he’s got and they’ve got one more [Stanley Cup].

“He’s head and shoulders above every defenseman in the league. When he has an average night, it’s still OK. My only problem with having Drew out there all the time — and it’s a great problem — is [having] the right guy with him. Drew can’t do everything.”