From ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:
Well, you can’t mention Stamkos and not the player taken right after him in the 2008 NHL entry draft, Drew Doughty, right? I wrote a few weeks ago that the Kings were drawing up different contract proposals for Doughty’s camp. Talks, as far as I can tell, still haven’t begun, but one thing I was told Friday is that the Kings at this point are leaning toward a short-term deal instead of the multiyear deals you usually see for these young stars; the reason being that the Kings are weary of the uncertainty of the next CBA. I don’t think you can rule out a long-term deal, because, after all, it all depends on the money, but short term is where the Kings are leaning right now.
Interesting. Not surprising. Several things may be relevant here:
1. Of course, the CBA looms large over every team’s negotiations. With the potential of a falling CAP and further limits on long-term deals, any offer with serious money (excess of $5 million) could handcuff the Kings’ short and mid-term ability to keep its core. Of course, this isn’t just a Kings’ problem. There are 28 teams with the same issue (I don’t consider the Devils and Islanders part of this discussion). If LeBrun is right, what is short term? 3 years? 5? My guess is no more than 5. Think Bobby Ryan money and term.
2. Doughty allegedly did poorly on his fitness testing prior to camp. It has translated to his on ice game. Both prior to and after his concussion, he has looked a step behind on defense. He is also struggling on the offensive side of the puck, which is to say he has almost been non-existent on the scoreboard. His plus-minus is decent and, in fairness to Drew, his play last season set a very high bar by which to judge his performance. Knowing Lombardi like we do and his emphasis on conditioning, Dean must have some unspoken concern (if that is possible with Lombardi) about Drew’s commitment level.
3. Dean gave a passionate commentary about paying the kids big money. In response to a question I asked him in September at Fan Fest, he responded:
“You give anybody too much to chew, that person is not going to be the same in continuing to drive in being the best that he can be. And you put this system in place like they did with the NBA, and then you wonder why the best talents somehow get their way with it. Somehow they’re not focused anymore. Well who’s fault is that? How many of you would be focused in your line of work if all of a sudden at 22 years old you’ve got it all? And again, I had no problem with Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy getting their 10 million dollars; Those guys had 10 years in the league, they had proven they were winners, they had proven they were leaders, and god bless ‘em. But for some reason, we went out and said let’s make free agency 25, and then you have a team like Phoenix that’s one of the oldest teams in the league and has one of the lesser payrolls — it’s completely inverted. So, maybe I’m talking a little for selfish reasons too, though. But I think the product when you have players who have stayed together, come up the right way, they perform better, you get a better team, you can get a better product. The other thing for our game, that I think is critical and not only because it is what we believe in in building a team, and keeping young athletes together so they not only become the best they can be, but they become teammates and they like each other and stay together for years. (this and other Dean Lombardi quotes can be found within the page The Quotable Lombardi)
Not exactly mincing words. Dean must have some concerns in paying the long-term big bucks to a kid with an amazing skill set but who is still a kid nevertheless.
So, this begs a question for you. Do you give Drew a short-term deal or a long one? What are your numbers?