C’mon Doughty. Loyal Kings fans across the southland (and the world) are waiting to hear the good news that you’ve signed a contract and will be lacing them up in LA this coming season, and for many more after that. Clearly there are discussions still to be had between Lombardi, management and Doughty. That said, there are a few factor that are worth considering when trying to decide when an inevitable contract will come down the pike.
The first, is that the idea of Doughty signing elsewhere is effectively a fantasy. Would there be another team in the NHL interested in having Doughty on their team? Of course. Probably a good 29 other teams. That said, it’s almost unthinkable that any other team would even tender an offer sheet, let alone Doughty would sign it, and THEN Lombardi would fail to match it.
I believe it was Ken Holland of the Red Wings that put it best. If the proposed offer sheet that Doughty signs is reasonable, then Lombardi matches the deal and a contract is done. It’s actually a relatively smooth process. If the proposed offer sheet is completely unreasonable, then even if Lombardi decides to walk away, the new team is saddled with an unreasonable contract for presumably quite a few years. It’s not a likely situation.
Is it possible that an offer sheet could make Lombardi pony up a bit more than he’s comfortable with? Sure, but frankly it’s unlikely to even get to that point. My best guess is that Doughty (and possibly even Lombardi) is waiting for Shea Weber to sign his deal. As the only realistically close comparable deal this off-season, his deal will likely set the stage for Doughty’s deal. And Weber will have his deal by August 2nd, since that’s when he is scheduled for an arbitration hearing.
So when will we hear? My guess would be somewhere around the end of the first week, early the second week of August. If Weber signs, the talks will continue, and a deal will be concluded. The question now is how much is Doughty worth? What would you pay him, and for how long?