Never Any Dought

After months of wondering how it could possibly take this long, we can all finally breathe easier: Doughty has signed that fat contract at long last.

$7 million per year over 8 years seems to be a fair compromise for both sides. Doughty got his extra $200k per season (Kings’ rumored offer was at $6.8 million per year for7 years) and the Kings got their extra year of his free agency years. Sure, it was more drama filled than it needed to be, but hey, it’s done. I never held a grudge against Doughty for seeking what he felt to be fair, and I certainly don’t begrudge Dean Lombardi for doing his job either.

That being said, one thing that I wish Doughty would stop saying is “It was never about the money.” Well, actually, that’s PRECISELY what it was about, Drew. I know it would take some serious stones to come out and say, “Yeah, it was about the money. I was just trying to get what I believe to be fair value for my services,” because that might be PR suicide. But it’s insulting, even to my little pea-sized brain, to continue to say “It wasn’t about the money.” Even if he were to try to convince us it was about the length of the contract, THAT is STILL about the money because contract length is really about his potential earning power and cashing in on more years of prime-aged free agency. Was it about respect? Because, technically then, it’s still about the money – namely, making more than other D-men or being the highest paid player on the team. It just makes no sense to continue to say it wasn’t about the money.

Anyway, enough on that. It’s done and I’m happy. The next natural question then is what happens to Voynov, the talented young Russian who has taken Doughty’s place all preseason? 30 days younger than Doughty, Voynov has proven himself to be ready for the next level, having made the AHL All-Star team last year and winning the speed skating skills competition. His play throughout the preseason has been very strong and encouraging. He’s been chomping at the bit now for a couple years, and has dropped hints that if he didn’t make it to the big club this year, he’d consider heading to the KHL.

My first inclination is to say that he stays with the big club, but it’s hard to see how. The Kings have 6 excellent everyday defensemen – DD, Mitchell, JJ, Scuderi, Martinez, and Greene – with only one spot to spare for an excess defenseman. I’m not sure the Kings want Voynov sitting on the bench every night as a 7th defenseman, and they would be more likely to use Davis Drewiske or Jake Muzzin in that role. So the only natural solution that I can see is a trade.

We know Doughty is out as a trade chip. Mitchell and Scuderi are in the final years of their contract, so I doubt they’re going anywhere. That leaves JJ, Martinez and Greene.

Of these, I think Martinez is most likely to go. He’s young, he’s cheap, he could fetch a decent return and is probably the easiest to move. Unfortunately, he’s also the one I’d be most reluctant to trade. If you want to read why I feel that way, read my reaction after they signed him to an extension this off-season.

Jack Johnson is the least likely to be moved – he just recently signed a healthy sized contract, he produces on the power play and is still young – but he’s the one I’d MOST like to see traded. Besides the fact his style of play is most similar to Voynov’s (save for the part where Voynov has defensive wherewithal), well, I’ll let you read this previous post I had on good old Jack explain the rest. And while I may not be a big fan, a lot of other people are, and he could fetch a very nice prize. People are still enamored of his “skills” and wowed by his point totals.

Then there’s Matt Greene. I think this is the guy the Kings would most WANT to move, but is probably the hardest to trade. Even though he’s a team-first/face-second, tough, physical defender who is a hilarious and awesome locker room presence, he’s not particularly skilled and has a penchant for committing dumb penalties at bad times. Plus, Voynov is a skilled, finesse defender, not a bruising, stay-at-home defenseman like Greene. So Greener’s replacement isn’t obvious in this case.

Still, it’s nice to be in a position where there’s simply TOO MUCH talent and depth. It’s certainly the better alternative to missing one of the league’s best and most promising defensemen for part or all of the season. Regardless, the Kings have 7 everyday defensemen and only 6 spots. Something has to give. I just hope it’s not Voynov (or Martinez) that gets pinched in this numbers game.


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