LA Kings: Drew Doughty frustrated with Olympic roster projections

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty stopped by the NHL Network to discuss the season and potentially being left off Team Canada’s 2022 Olympic roster.

The last two seasons have been underwhelming for Drew Doughty, and that’s putting it mildly. The LA Kings defenseman signed a massive eight-year, $88M contract extension in July 2018, but he looked anything like a former Norris Trophy winner in the 18-19 and 19-20 seasons. This year, while the Olli Maatta experiment failed, Doughty has found an unlikely partner in rookie Mikey Anderson.

“We got a guy. My partner right now is Mikey Anderson – great player, plays with great poise, talks a lot,” Doughty told NHL Network on Tuesday. “He’s a great partner for me and [he is] going to be a very, very good player.”

Doughty got off to a slow start in the shortened 2021 season, but his numbers have skyrocketed since being paired with Anderson. Entering Wednesday’s matchup with the St. Louis Blues, the 31-year-old has four goals and 11 assists; his 15 points are tied for fourth-most in the NHL among defensemen. He has been an excellent veteran presence for a relatively young defensive corps.

During training camp, Doughty told the media that he’s using criticism of his game over the last two seasons as his fuel for the shortened 2021 season. By all accounts, that’s proved true, but he might have a little more gasoline to add to the fire, with several media outlets omitting him from their projected roster for Team Canada in the 2022 Olympics.

“Yeah, I mean, I’ll be honest with you guys. When I don’t see my name on that stuff, it completely frustrates me, and I’ve talked to, you know, teammates about it, coaches about it, and everyone’s like just ignore it, don’t look at it like. Why do you care what the media says, and I’m just like, man, I’m not trying to look for it. [It] just like comes up on Twitter.”

Cale Makar, Shea Theodore, Alex Pietrangelo – players who have either emerged over the last couple of years or continued their steady play overshadow Doughty. But Doughty has experience on his side, playing in the 2014 and 2010 Olympic games, which would provide valuable veteran leadership for Team Canada.

“It frustrates me, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make that team,”  “You know, I don’t believe the media. I know that the GMs that are creating this team, they know hockey. I think better than most people, so I’m using it as a tool to push myself, to prove to everyone I should be on that team. You know, I’ve been on the team twice before, played lots of minutes, and was a big part of the teams, and I think I can for sure do that again.”