In That’s Hockey’s Studs and Duds, Jason Botchford blames Dean Lombardi for not getting Drew Doughty signed. His reason? Botchford argues Lombardi committed the franchise money to the wrong player. Botchford must own a crystal ball none of us have because he might’ve been the only person in 2009 who would’ve said Doughty would be worth more than Anze Kopitar.
Heading into the 2009-10 season, which would end up being Doughty’s breakout year, the Kings had every right to believe Kopitar was the franchise player. Sure, Doughty was picked second overall, but he was coming off an up-and-down season where he scored only 6 goals and was -19. He was getting a lot of ice-time but that was also the year Kyle Quincey was the Kings’ best defenseman. There was nothing to suggest that by the summer of 2011, the asking price for Doughty was over $6.8 million.
Let’s also keep in mind that when Kopitar signed that seven-year, $47.6 million contract in October 2008, he was coming off a breakout season of his own, notching 32 goals and 77 points. That season, the 2007-’08 season, saw Drew Doughty post less than a point per game with the Guelph Storm.
To blame Lombardi for giving Kopitar franchise player money when Doughty was still plowing through the OHL is just absurd.