Last weekend, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty had some intriguing comments about his future in an interview with Matt Larkin of The Hockey News where he suggested that he could be okay leaving the team in pursuit of a contender if the team struggles over these next couple of seasons. Speaking with reporters, including Curtis Zupke of the LA Times, Doughty clarified the statement and stated his desire to remain with Los Angeles long-term:
“You just never know what can happen … but I want to be here and I’m pretty sure that the L.A. Kings and all [my] teammates want me to be here, too. I’m sure something will happen and we will get it done.”
Doughty has two years remaining on his current contract with a $7MM cap hit and will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2019. The Kings already have more than $53MM committed to just 11 players for the 2019-20 season but undoubtedly will be prepared to make a significant offer to keep Doughty around well beyond then.
More from the West:
- The Wild and RFA winger Marcus Foligno continued contract talks today, reports Michael Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link). While it appears that talks are progressing, the two sides have yet to agree on a contract. Earlier this week, it was reported that a three-or-four-year deal is in the works which would buy out multiple years of UFA eligibility.
- It’s no secret that Avalanche GM Joe Sakic is seeking a big return for center Matt Duchene. Speaking with WGR 550 in Buffalo (audio link), Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the Avalanche are seeking one of Nashville’s top-four defensemen plus another asset in order to ship Duchene to the Predators. While Duchene would certainly give them a top-six replacement for James Neal, that would certainly be a steep price to pay, especially with Ryan Ellis out until early 2018.
- After reporting to training camp well past Vancouver’s targeted weight for him, Canucks winger Jake Virtanen has come to camp in much better shape this time around, notes Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province. At 215 pounds, Virtanen is well below the 231 he checked in at this time last year and that might help give him a leg up on a possible fourth line spot despite not exactly lighting it up in the AHL last season (he had 19 points in 65 games). Head coach Travis Green acknowledged that the Canucks plan to give their fourth line a big workload this season which may make that role a better one for him over more playing time back with AHL Utica.