Our reader, Tom, brings you this article. It’s the second he has written for S&S and we look forward to many more.
“I don’t really know much about him. I heard he’s a bit of a yeller and I think that’s a good thing.”
That was Droughty’s quote before Sutter arrived, which Due spat out between claps for the birthday kid at a Chuck-E-Cheese off-day arcade day. This was probably his only chance to get out of the house in those old King’s pajamas he still wears. Since Sutter’s arrival, Due has really elevated his game, now at nearly curb level and expecting to reach tire-rim heights soon.
Am I down on Due Droughty?
As a salary leader on this team, Droughty cannot escape responsibility. Many applaud Due’s purported contribution as a high-minute D-man on a very good defensive team; I postulate that the team succeeds defensively despite Due Droughty.
Any objective review of the season so far and even the last 5 games where his game has somewhat improved, admittedly under a microscope while only focusing on the negative, finds many simple, fundamental, basic failings in all zones of play, and in all game situations.
The team is failing overall, while excelling at defense. Therefore, the nature of the failure is examined regarding the offensive ability of each player and of the team as a whole. Even if Droughty was “all that” as a pure D-man, which he is not, he would still be under-performing and overpaid.
Droughty has flashes, and I say misleading flashes, of highly noticeable activity. He sometimes makes a strong rush, but so does Johnson. Droughty sometimes makes the excellent outlet, but so does Matt Greene. Droughty almost never, but has rarely, made a strong hit, but Mitchell, and Greene, both do that far more and far better, and when they do it the possession is turned over to the King’s benefit.
What I see happening is a seeking of level between Johnson and Droughty; Johnson is improving, Droughty is degrading.
Why do I pick on Due? As I said, it’s his pay. He is one of the top paid D-men in the NHL. He is supposed to have a complete game; speed, size, shut-down ability, and scoring. What Droughty does have is speed, but his size is used ineffectively, the shut-down ability is therefore further weakened, and his scoring is going down like a Times Square hooker.
Doughty is still making the same kind of PeeWee mistakes I have been watching worsen since the end of last year. He reminds me of Paul Ruben, the real PeeWee, sitting in a movie theater.
Droughty continues to play rover, over-emphasizing the team’s new offensive focus into a net negative. Instead of creating a scramble for the other team, Droughty’s frequent turnovers while he is below the attacking faceoff dots create a scramble for the Kings.
Some will cite his recent goal in overtime; for me, this is only further evidence of the danger of a sloppy rush in that Droughty had nothing to do with the puck actually going in. Yes, he brought the puck to that area, but it dribbled off his stick and only went it because it hit an opponent’s skate. While the puck was errantly crawling at snail-speed, Droughty was down on the ice next to the net, out of the play and leaving the team vulnerable to a counter. Yes, the goal went in, but rather than a sign of good things to come, it seemed more like the “blind squirrel” theory in action.
As well, any mention of his offensive activity cannot ignore his 3 goals and minus 2 rating with a shooting percentage lower than anyone except Clifford and Moreau and Scuderi. And those three goals? Greene has 2. Mitchell has two. Alec Martinez has two and only played in half the games this season, and same with Drewiske, 2 goals in 7 games. For fuck’s sake, Trent Hunter has two goals, and Droughty has three? Meanwhile, Johnson has 5 and Voynov, in 24 games, has 4.
Due Droughty is slow to get off a shot from the blue line, and maddeningly so. Why he is always teeing it up and looking for a lane is baffling, as he loses the small lane gained from a quick pass by delaying the release. I think he is allergic to the one-timer, as he NEVER adjusts his stance to a pass to make a one-timer, while often not even taking advantage of the wheel-house successful pass. The guy habitually stops the freaking puck, is what I am trying to say here. It slows shit down, STOP IT. MAKE SCRAMBLES BY QUICK PUT-BACKS.
On the power play, this is especially a killer. It forces indecision from the teammates, because if Droughty is likely to not get it thru, they have to be available for an outlet pass. They can’t bum-rush the net, cuz the bum is gonna hold the puck that extra beat until the defender can place his shin pads directly in front of the easily predicted path of Droughty’s telegraphed shot.
On outlet passes for the breakout, Droughty often gets it blocked, again trying to play the puck thru the defender’s shinpads. If one merely looks for it, one sees at least 5 times a game where Droughty waits too long and then puts it right into a guy’s feet for a block.
As well, if it isn’t into a defender’s blocking feet, it is into our guy’s helplessly rushing feet instead of onto his stick. If one watches for it, one sees the many, many times Droughty wrong-sides a guy with a pass, or over-leads him, or handcuffs the guy putting it right at him. Seriously, some guys can hit the stick for the guy to take it in stride, some guys get the puck near the other guy but force an adjustment in stride and constrict the options of the receiver.
I could go on and on, and when people respond to this, I will be prompted to do just that. But my main point, of which I am convinced, is that Droughty is a terrific disappointment, that the disappointment comes from a cavalier attitude, and that Ol’ Yeller is gonna need to repeatedly light this dude up until he finally gets it that hockey is fun, but winning is serious business.