“I’d love to re-sign in L.A. But if our team isn’t going in the right direction …,” Doughty, who won the Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2012 and 2014, told the magazine. “I want to win Cups. I don’t give a [darn] where I play. I just want to win Cups, and that’s the bottom line.”
He tried to clarify those comments Tuesday.
“My one comment, ‘I don’t care where I play. I just want to win [Stanley] Cups.’ That is true. I just want to win Cups,” said Doughty, who can become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018-19 season. “When I said that, it didn’t mean I didn’t want to do it in L.A. The bottom line is all I care about is Cups. I don’t want to win a Cup anywhere else but L.A. That’s the bottom line.”
The past few seasons have been challenging for the Kings. Los Angeles has qualified for the playoffs once since 2013-14, losing to the San Jose Sharks in five games in the Western Conference First Round in 2015-16. Last season, the Kings finished with 86 points (39-35-8), failed to make the playoffs, and general manager Dean Lombardi and coach Darryl Sutter were fired, replaced by Rob Blake and John Stevens.
Doughty, 27, said he likes the direction the Kings are headed. Selected by Los Angeles with the No. 2 pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, he has 362 points (92 goals, 270 assists) in 688 games over nine seasons.
“It is one of the best organizations in sports,” said Doughty, who won the Norris Trophy in 2015-16. “We still have some of our best players in their prime. We have these young guys coming up. We’ve got new coaches. Everything about being here in L.A. is very exciting and promising.”
Doughty was asked if his comments were designed to put pressure on the Kings to build a winning team.
“I know people read it like that,” he said. “That’s not entirely how I meant it. At the same time, you never know what could happen. We might not come to an agreement on a contract. They might not want to sign me for what I want, vice versa.
“Things can happen. You just never know what can happen. So I may not be here. But I want to be here. I’m pretty sure the L.A. Kings and all our teammates want me to be here too. I’m sure something will happen and we will get it done. It’s so far away, so many things can happen.”
Doughty said he hopes what he said wasn’t taken the wrong way by Kings fans.
“I hope I don’t offend any fans when I made those comments,” he said. “I just speak the truth and sometimes comments get taken in a different way.
“I’ve always wanted to be an L.A. King since I was 5 years old. When Wayne Gretzky came here, I wanted to be an L.A. King, no matter what.”
Doughty is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in two seasons, after the completion of an eight-year, $56 million contract he signed on Sept. 30, 2011. It has an average annual value of $7 million. He can sign an extension starting July 1.
There has been speculation on social media of him someday playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not so fast, said Doughty, who said he was swamped by fans during a recent trip to a Toronto Blue Jays game.
“The entire crowd knows I’m there, and all of a sudden it becomes an autograph session with people standing up and down the rows,” said Doughty, who was born in London, Ontario. “I couldn’t walk anywhere in Canada this year without having to talk about becoming a Leaf. It’s just so far-fetched. I don’t even know what to say.”