Drew Doughty celebrates with the Stanley Cup. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
Defenseman Drew Doughty was a King before he played for the Kings.
Even though he grew up in London, Canada, a short distance from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Doughty had a shrine to the Kings in his room. There was a Kings trash can and a Kings telephone, all part of his love for Wayne Gretzky.
"The Kings were my team," Doughty said.
And still are.
Doughty has helped take the Kings even beyond what Gretzky's teams accomplished in Los Angeles. His upside was as a defenseman who had offensive skills.
During the Stanley Cup Final, Doughty had two goals, one on a Bobby Orr-like play where he skated from the Kings' zone, through the New Jersey defense. He also had four assists in the series.
Doughty's goal clinched a 4-2 victory over St. Louis that gave the Kings a 3-0 lead in the second-round series. His goal against Phoenix tied Game 5 of the Western Conference final, 2-2. He also had an assist in that game.
This is what was expected of Doughty when the Kings drafted him second overall in the 2008 draft.
His poise impressed General Manager Dean Lombardi even when Doughty was a rookie in 2008-09. The Colorado Avalanche's Ryan Smith scored a goal where "he turned Drew inside out," Lombardi said.
"You see that happen to young defensemen and they go into a shell," Lombardi said. "Not Drew. He came right back, took the puck through the neutral zone, and got that goal back. That showed me that he is not only a top player, he's a winner."
Lombardi had confidence in Doughty before drafting him.
"You're never sure even when you're sure," Lombardi said. "You're dealing with an 18-year-old in the draft. But once we had done all the research from watching him play, meeting him after games, meeting with the combine, meeting his family, we formed that conclusion."