When Los Angeles Kings star defenseman Drew Doughty mentioned he would not settle on contract and salary to stay in California, fans went nuts, already picturing the defender in a different uniform in the next seasons. Questions and speculations flooded social media: would he get traded? Would he signed as a free agent with a rival club, and most importantly, what the heck was going on?!
Doughty went further when he revealed that he has discussed pending free agency with Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson, and how both players were staying in touch to make sure they could both land a contract that meets the demands they deserve.
Minds blew all over the National Hockey League.
However, since, Doughty has mentioned several times his desire to remain in Los Angeles as the Kings are still fighting closely for a playoff spot this year, and looking to prove to fans, and to the defenseman, they are still a true Cup contender. Having said that, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman was asked what was more probable: a Karlsson trade or a Doughty one? And despite the fact that Sens general manager Pierre Dorion said his captain was an untouchable, Friedman believes it is more likely the Senators star defender could be on the move than Doughty.
"I think the L.A. Kings are going to do whatever it takes to keep Drew Doughty, and my default is he’s staying,” said Friedman. “They are run by a Hall of Fame defenseman and he knows what Drew Doughty does. Luc Robitaille knows what Drew Doughty does. I think they’re going to make sure that he stays. I think it’s most likely he stays. You can always move somebody else.”
“Even as Doughty was making all of this noise the last year, which I think part of it he does because he likes to see the reaction, I have always believes the Kings will step up and they will keep him.”
His speech is different when it comes to Karlsson, especially when the name of Sens owner Eugene Melnyk is brought up as Friedman explained on Sporsnet 590 “it’s way more likely Erik Karlsson is in another uniform in the next 24 months.”
“Yes, I would say that is way more likely,” Friedman went on. “Now, I said and continue to say I think Erik Karlsson at certain times has been searching for reasons to stay in Ottawa. This is not a shot at Pierre Dorion with the extension. I just think as long as Melnyk is the owner it makes it tougher for him to keep Karlsson. I don’t know. I’m not expecting Karlsson to be dealt by the deadline, but you wouldn’t have to knock me over with a feather if it happened.
“But I do agree with your premise. I think it’s much more likely Doughty stays than Karlsson.”
Karlsson’s contract currently counts for $6.5 million against Ottawa's cap and the star blue liner has a modified no-trade clause, through which he can submit a 10-team no-trade list, for these final two seasons of that deal.
Then, well... After that, the NHL world is his oyster.