Monday, September 19, 2011

Doughty Contract Solution

Image courtesy of: TSN  Photography
Drew Doughty and Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi are currently locked in a bitter and stalemate contract with no solution in sight. Negotiations have stalled, and as training camp continues and the regular season approaches, the threat of Doughty missing regular season games looms. Either one side needs to bend, or another solution needs to be presented. Doughty is a restricted free agent, therefore, one possible solution could come in the form of an offer sheet from another team.  Such an offer to a player of Doughty’s caliber is without precedent and highly unlikely, since the contract would need to be very significant.

What kind of contract offer would it take to sign Doughty? The two main problems with the Kings offer, seems to be not enough money, and too long of term. The rumored offer from the Kings presently, is for seven years at an average of $6.8 Million. The problem with the seven year term is it takes two years of potential unrestricted free agency away from Doughty. Therefore, any offer from another team would need to exceed the insufficient offer and be for a lesser term. For argument’s sake, say $8 Million per year for five years for a total of $40 Million.
According to the compensation for such an offer would be four first round draft picks. Only a team with tremendous organizational depth of young star players and quality prospects, could stomach such steep compensation. In addition, the qualifying team would also require the appropriate amount of cap space.
So what team could possibly offer Doughty so much money that the Kings would simply not match the offer? And what team has enough young talent that they could afford the compensation? One team that stands out is the Edmonton Oilers.

The Edmonton Oilers have enjoyed several early draft choices over the past few years including first overall selections Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Other first round picks currently with Edmonton are Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, and Sam Gagner. Edmonton also has promising prospects in their system such as Linus Omark, Anton Lander, Tyler Pitlick, Teemu Hartikainen, Jeff Petry, and Martin Marincin. With such talented youth and prospects all in the system Edmonton is in a position to be able to absorb losing the four first round picks.
Financially Edmonton is also in a position to add Doughty. According to the Oilers have just over seven million in cap and it would not be too hard to make up the difference.
While the Oilers have plenty of depth at forward, the defense position is about the weakest in the NHL. By adding Doughty a position of weakness instantly becomes strength as he is one of the best defensemen in the NHL.

The Los Angeles Kings have also had several years of high draft choices, and as a result, have a very impressive collection of young talent. With young stars such as Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards (acquired in trade with Philadelphia), Dustin Brown, Jack Johnson(also acquired in trade), and prospects Andrei Loktionov, Tyler Toffoli, Derek Forbort, and Viatcheslav Voynov, the Kings are well stocked for the present and the future. Truth is they need Doughty more than the four first round draft pick compensation they would receive. Furthermore, the Kings also have ample cap space available. According to cap geek, the Los Angeles Kings have over nine million in available cap space. If Doughty were to receive an offer, the Kings could match.

Drew Doughty grew up being a Wayne Gretzky fan and fan of the Los Angeles Kings. On the day he was drafted he made no secret of the fact that he has always been a Kings fan. It is highly unlikely that Doughty wants to leave this team that drafted him. However, if he were to receive a contract offer from another team (say Edmonton) it would give him tremendous leverage in his contract negotiations with the Kings.

Is it possible that a team could be bold enough to step in and offer Drew Doughty a contract? Is it possible that Kings GM Dean Lombardi would be stubborn enough to let Doughty walk? Given the current impasse between Doughty and the Kings in contract negotiations, it is possible however unlikely, that a team like the Edmonton Oilers could steps in to make a contract offer towards Doughty. If such a scenario were to occur, it would absolutely resolve the hold out status of Drew Doughty.

1 comment:

  1. Good article and I think you are right about it is not likely to happen. First I do not think Tambelini has the courage to make such a bold move. It would be a great move for Edmonton and if any team can afford to give up the draft picks it is Edmonton. Second, as poorly as Lombardi has handled the negotiations it would likely cost him his job if he lost Doughty so no matter what doughty signs in the form of an offer sheet LA would have to match they can not allow Doughty to leave. The LA fans would never forgive Lombardi if that were to happen.