No Doubt: Doughty Should Have Had Calder Consideration


When the list of Calder Trophy finalists were announced a couple weeks ago, I can’t say I that wasn’t shocked to see that King defenseman Drew Doughty was not one of the three finalists.  However, I can say that I was disappointed.  No offense to Kris Versteeg of the Blackhawks, but Doughty was more deserving of consideration for the Rookie of the Year chalice.

Yes, Versteeg was second amongst rookies in scoring.  And I fully realize that Doughty had a -17 plus/minus rating, which at first glance looks about as attractive as real estate in downtown Detroit.  But when you look that woeful stat, you have to realize that it was directly linked to the Kings having the scoring prowess of your average comic book convention attendee.  On the contrary, the Kings defense improved more than any other team from last year to this year – they went from 28th to 4th in average shots against per game – and Doughty and his over 23 minutes of ice time per game was the chief catalyst behind that turnaround.  It was this resurgent blue line corps that helped the Kings to stay in the playoff hunt until late March.  Considering that everyone felt the Blackhawks were pretty much destined to make the playoffs before Versteeg came on the scene, you could (and should) make the argument that Doughty had a much greater impact on his team than Versteeg did.  In fact, dare I say that only the Blue Jackets’ Steve Mason had a bigger influence on his team’s fortunes amongst rookies than Doughty.

Perhaps if the Kings were able to squeeze into the post-season, Doughty would have gotten the Calder finalist nod I felt he deserved.  Then again, it wasn’t like he was going to wrest the trophy away from Mason this year, anyway.