June 19, 2008
Screenwriter William Goldman famously once said, "Nobody knows anything." We find this especially true about the NHL Draft. So with our time-honored cynicism, we present these pithy profiles of 2008's top prospects and five completely nonsensical reasons why they'll be busts.
Drew Doughty is a star defenseman for Guelph, which sounds like a noise my father makes in the bathroom in the morning, but it's also an OHL team called the Storm. He is a projected top-four pick by nearly every measure, and many mock drafts have him going second overall to the Los Angeles Kings. Here he is, pretending to shoot TIE Fighters at the combine.
E.J. McGuire, the NHL's director of Central Scouting, said that Doughty is "a defenseman around which a team is going to build the next 10 years." So no pressure, kid.
Universally praised, it becomes our job to mine the depths of his life to discover five
somewhat ridiculous reasons why you don't want to draft Drew Doughty:
1. Down on the Upside. Brian Burke is a pretty smart dude, to the point where he's been able to hire a coach for the Leafs while still being under contract with the Ducks. (Kidding ... sort of.) Burke said that Doughty is ready for the NHL now because he's "become the player he's going to be," while fellow blue-chip defensive prospect Zach Bogosian has more upside. So, in the end, there's a chance the Bogosian will end up being a better player. Even if that player is Chris Pronger.
2. Once a Fat Kid, Always a Fat Kid. Doughty has had weight problems. Not severe ones. He doesn't look like Brando in "The Island of Dr. Moreau" or anything. But it's something he's battled, to the point where he's been working out five times a week since the end of the season to shed weight and keep it off. But it worries us that ESPN would evoke and slightly alter the old John Kruk adage for Doughty: "Lady, I'm not an athlete, I'm a hockey player." It really, really worries us that a guy with what can be called a rather "relaxed" temperament away from the rink could end up in California, home of burgers both Fat and In-n-Out.
3. He May Have the Worst Nickname in the Draft: Because of his history as a chubby kid and the spelling of his last name, Drew Doughty's nickname is actually "Doughnuts." Problem No. 1: In a League with legends nicknamed "Killer" and "Little Ball of Hate," Doughty's nickname makes him sound like a Beanie Baby. Problem No. 2: Don Koharski already completely owns the name. Potential Saving Grace: Fans throw Krispie Kremes on the ice whenever he scores.
4. He's a Bandwagon Fan. Doughty was a Wayne Gretzky fan as a kid. Seeing as how he's 18, that means he started watching hockey when Gretzky was on the Kings. So a young man from London, Ont. became a Los Angeles Kings fan and remained one, to the point where his bedroom had both a Kings telephone and a Kings trashcan. While he earns points for not being an out-of-market, post-MJ Bulls fan and abandoning his team when the star leaves, he still isn't the guy who supports the local club. Which would have been the Leafs, in his case.
Eh, maybe we'll just let him off the hook on this one.
5. The Can't-Miss Thing: As we said in our Steven Stamkos write-up, the idea of a can't-miss prospect scares us a little.
There's no doubt Doughty has the goods, and by all accounts he's ahead of schedule. But his lack of physical play combined with his potential physique gives us pause. Not enough that we wouldn't snatch him up with a lottery pick, of course; but we've come to learn that the only sure things in hockey these days are low ratings for the all-star game, suspensions for the Flyers, and that one of these No. 1 picks won't pan out.
Up Next: Five reasons you don't want to draft Zach Bogosian.