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2015 Season Review: Drew Doughty

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Was it a Norris-worthy campaign for Doughty?

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Doughty HERO
Stats reflect 2012-15. Many thanks to @MimicoHero for the charts we've used throughout these reviews.

Positives

Drew Doughty always insisted that he could play more minutes. How about five more hours than he'd ever posted in a single regular season? Doughty racked up 2377:40 of ice time this season, a league-leading total, including 1748:16 at even strength. Here's who he spent it with:

Doughty Partners

That's more non-Muzzin time than you remember, right? The numbers breakdown is interesting, too. With Muzzin, Doughty was his usual thriving puck possession self, and the Kings got 58.4% of the overall shot attempts. Weirdly, that didn't manifest itself in the goals department; they were on-ice for 33 goals for and 39 goals against. Last year, the goals for/against aligned perfectly with shots for/against, and the year before, the goals for/against ratio was even better than the shots for/against ratio; unless these two suddenly got worse at protecting their own zone, that's probably some misfortune for them.

His time with McNabb and Regehr was the opposite; lower-than-usual shot differential advantage, but a significant goal advantage over the other team.


Common Partners With Doughty

Player TOI with Doughty GF60 with Doughty GA60 with Doughty GF% with Doughty CF60 with Doughty CA60 with Doughty CF% with Doughty GF% without Doughty CF% without Doughty
MUZZIN, JAKE 947:34 2.09 2.47 45.8 63.07 44.64 58.6 66.7 57.3
REGEHR, ROBYN 442:26 2.71 1.63 62.5 56.82 51.26 52.6 48.8 50.4
MCNABB, BRAYDEN 284:36 2.74 1.05 72.2 59.66 45.54 56.7 56.5 57.0

In terms of production, Doughty made a huge jump from last season at even strength. He had some notable power play struggles -- more on that later -- but his offensive performance went from What's-Wrong-With-Drew levels to That's-More-Like-It levels.


Drew Doughty: 2013-14 vs 2014-15 (Even Strength)

season G A P G60 A60 P60 PenD CF% PDO PSh% ZSO%Rel TOI/Gm
2013-14 4 10 14 0.17 0.43 0.6 -10 58.47 100.79 3.88 -1.15 17.86
2014-15 6 21 27 0.21 0.73 0.93 -13 56.43 99.29 4.14 -1.86 21.16

Finally, let's look at Doughty's rolling Corsi chart. This shows his performance over each ten-game stretch of the season, and you'll notice that not once did Doughty average below a 50% Corsi For over a ten-game span.

Doughty Roll Corsi

Consistency! And even with the occasional "downturn," playing that well over that amount of time underscores why Doughty had a Norris case.

Negatives

First: I know shooting percentage is stupid and fluctuating and a bad judge of performance. EVEN SO: being one fluky center ice goal away from being shut out on the power play in 2014-15 isn't good. That was the primary reason Doughty fell short of double-digit goals for the first time since he was a rookie. (That excludes 2012-13, when he tallied six goals in 48 games.) Doughty's shot count of 219, however, was very healthy, and his ability to get shots through and on goal has proven to be above-average. If he takes 219 shots next year, he'll almost definitely get back above ten goals.

Interestingly, despite being in the league's top 50 in assist rate, Doughty's assist rate was just fourth among Kings defensemen, behind Muzzin, Brayden McNabb (one of only three regular defensemen IN THE NHL with more than 1 assist/60 minutes), and Alec Martinez. The last two had high PDOs this year, so I wouldn't read too much into that.

I'll wrap this up with Doughty's rolling Relative Corsi chart; instead of showing his overall Corsi For % over the course of the season, this shows his performance relative to teammates. Jon Rosen's evaluation of Doughty mentioned that, to the eye, "the extraordinary minutes likely weighed down the gifted defenseman over the final month of the season"; this backs it up, at least in terms of Doughty's traditional zone dominance.

Doughty Rel Corsi

I don't like missing the playoffs either, but at least Doughty got to relax a bit.

Highlight

Appropriately for Doughty, it's an assist, not a goal.

(For a more dramatic play which is slightly out of character for Doughty: poor Mike Santorelli.)

Going Forward

35 MINUTES A GAME.

Maybe not, but unless the Kings make a move for an Ehrhoff or an Oduya (increasingly unlikely at this point), the defense is going to be less experienced this season than it was last season. Doughty will take on as much, if not more, responsibility this year. Will the long summer help? Time will tell... in Doughty's case, lots of time will tell.

Grade

I still don't think we've seen Drew Doughty's best season. At the end of the day, though, Drew Doughty was a couple votes away from a Norris Trophy. So: A.