Drew Doughty has one of the most decorated resumes in the NHL, and the Los Angeles Kings star is ready to bring his team back to prominence after a disastrous 2018-19 campaign.
The Kings fired head coach John Stevens after stumbling to a 4-8-1 start and failed to improve under Willie Desjardins’ watch, finishing with a 31-42-9 record, while being eliminated from playoff contention with weeks remaining in the regular season.
Doughty, who was an integral part of the Kings’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2012 and 2014, vows that the club will improve this year.
“We're excited to have another opportunity to show everyone we still have it and we can still be a contending team," Doughty said via NHL.com’s Dave McCarthy on Thursday. "It might not be right off the bat, it's going to take some work, but it's going to happen."
It might be unfair to label Doughty as complicit in the Kings’ struggles. He posted eight goals and 45 points, playing in all 82 games for the fifth consecutive year, but if we’re nitpicking, it was his lowest offensive output since the 2014-15 campaign.
"I can't put a measure on how personally motivated I am for this season," Doughty said. "Last season was a disappointment and a big embarrassment. I'm expected to be one of the best guys on my team and a leader. I'm really looking forward to bringing us back to where we need to be. My determination is going to be at (the) maximum."
The core of the championship teams largely remain intact, and with some youth injected into the lineup, Doughty can see the Kings lifting the Cup for the third time this decade if everything goes to plan.
"We have some great players still on our team and some great prospects coming up," Doughty said. "Last year was obviously not the direction we wanted to go, but last year is in the past, we've learned from a lot of the mistakes we made. We have a new coaching staff in place and hopefully we can have a good camp first off. Everyone has worked really, really hard in the offseason, more than ever. We're ready to get back to top form."
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