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Kings' early exit 'frustrating' for Doughty

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

Time will only tell if Drew Doughty brings home a Norris Trophy for his spectacular play this season.

And with time, the pain felt from the Kings’ first-round loss to the Sharks will slowly dissipate.

“It’s frustrating, knowing how good our team is, and could have been. We just didn’t perform in that series,” Doughty said of the Kings’ early postseason exit. “It’s frustrating losing to those guys, and it’s frustrating watching hockey right now knowing we’re not playing, because I do know how good our team is.”

Doughty had a phenomenal season and is making a strong case to be named the NHL’s best defenseman of 2015-’16, if not the front-runner for the league’s esteemed award.

But much like how the Norris Trophy hinges on regular season performance, that’s really the only time the Kings, as a team, brought forth their best act.

“We weren’t the team we needed to be in playoffs, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “We can use all the excuses that we want, but it came down to we just didn’t perform in playoffs good enough, that’s the bottom line. San Jose – I don’t want to say they were hungrier or more determined to win, but they definitely played better than us, there’s no doubt about that, it’s disappointing.”

Doughty’s 51-point total (14G, 37A) was the second-highest in his eight-year career, ninth among NHL defenseman. As for playing time? Doughty was a horse, averaging 28:01 minutes each game, third among NHL defensemen. He was a staple on the Kings’ penalty kill, logging 241:08 minutes down a man, fifth among NHL defensemen. Doughty finished the year with 125 hits and 105 blocked shots to his name.

For a player that gave so much to the team this year, now’s the chance to take some time for himself. Back to Canada for Doughty? Not so fast.

“I’ll travel around California a little bit,” he said.

WATCH: End-of-Season Doughty Interview

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