With the season Drew Doughty has had, it’ll be a mistake if he isn’t at the 2022 All-Star Game.
The NHL recently announced the All-Star members for each team, and the LA Kings‘ only nominee was Adrian Kempe. While he definitely deserves the nomination, I think we should see Drew Doughty join him in Las Vegas for the 2022 All-Star Game.
Doughty was the Kings’ “Last Man In” nomination. This ballot is where fans can vote for one additional player from each division to play in the All-Star Game. In the Pacific Division, joining Doughty, there is Troy Terry (ANA), Matthew Tkachuk (CGY), Darnell Nurse (EDM), Logan Couture (SJS), Mark Giordano (SEA), J.T. Miller (VAN), and Jonathan Marchessault (VGK).
There are some excellent options there, and, unfortunately, we’ll only be able to see one of them at the event. That said, I think Doughty deserves to be there over any of the other options.
Doughty, 32, has had an impressive offensive season despite dealing with injuries and COVID-19. Currently, he has four goals, 19 points through 18 games played. His 2.52 points per 60 (P/60) rank fifth among all defensemen in the league, trailing just Cale Makar, Tony DeAngelo, Devon Toews, and Roman Josi. He also ranks eighth in even-strength points per 60 (ESP/60), another good indicator of his strong season.
Analytically, Doughty has 4.70 goals above replacement (GAR) and 0.80 wins above replacement (WAR), mainly stemming from his offensive efforts. He’s pretty average analytically on the defensive end, with -0.20 even-strength defensive goals above replacement (EVD_GAR).
Now, let’s take a second to look at the defensemen who were nominated to the All-Star Game. In the Eastern Conference, there’s Adam Fox, Adam Pelech, Rasmus Dahlin, Victor Hedman, and in the Western Conference, there’s Makar and Alex Pietrangelo.
Among the six defensemen in the event, just three have a better GAR ranking than Doughty. Only one has better even-strength offensive goals above replacement (EVO_GAR). In fact, Dahlin and Pietrangelo have been nowhere close to the All-Star level this season.
Doughty has been a significant factor in his team’s success, averaging over 25 minutes per game on a playoff team. He’s also averaging over a point-per-game pace (currently on pace for 87 points in an 82 game season). Additionally, the team is 9-7-2 when he’s in the lineup, a win percentage of .611, compared to their .581 on the season to date.
If you’re a Kings fan, you’re familiar with Doughty’s personality and it’s perfect for marketing the sport. After all, isn’t that a big part of what this tournament is for?
Take a look at this moment from the 2018 All-Star Game that had people talking for days afterward:
It makes sense to have one of the league’s top defensemen playing in the Los Angeles market at the tournament.
Overall, this would be just another thing to add to an already illustrious career for Doughty. It would mark his sixth all-star selection to go along with his two Stanley Cup Championship rings, Norris Trophy, and two Olympic Gold Medals. He’s represented the Kings at the All-Star Game for the five of the last six seasons.
Doughty doesn’t need this. But for a team that’s played as well as they have this season, one of the most important pieces to that success deserves to be there.