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Los Angeles Gamebreaker: Drew Doughty

by Shawn P. Roarke
How good is Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty?

Consider the numbers.

Doughty, a second-year defenseman, still just 20, is second on the Kings with 59 points. Only two defensemen in the entire League -- Washington's Mike Green and Chicago's Duncan Keith -- have more points.

He plays a team-high 24-plus minutes a game and still has a plus-20 rating. He quarterbacks the power play and has 9 goals on the man advantage. Five of his 16 goals this season have been game-winners.

But Doughty is about more than numbers. To understand that, just look at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Doughty, by far the youngest defender on a loaded Team Canada blue line, was among the most composed and effective defensemen in the tournament, justifying the faith placed in him by Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman.

And when two weeks of pressure-packed hockey were complete, Doughty was one of the 23 players with a gold medal draped around his neck.

Now, Doughty goes for the Stanley Cup.

Does he have the goods to deliver the trophy to Hollywood? Coach Terry Murray believes so, saying his youngster should be in the running for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the League's top defenseman.

"His year has been spectacular through this season," Murray told reporters. "The points, the key situations, the fact that the team has moved up in the standings and is starting to get some recognition around the League.

"He's an anchor for us back there, and I think, right now, he's comparable, No. 1 and on the defensive part of the game, with plus-minus and minutes played. He has to have some consideration by the people who vote for (the Norris Trophy), for sure."

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