Blake said he has spoken to Doughty about the timing of negotiations. The 28-year-old defenseman and the Kings can begin discussing an extension July 1.
Doughty’s eight-year contract, which he signed Sept. 29, 2011, expires after next season, when he can become an unrestricted free agent. If Doughty does sign an extension, it would start in the 2019-20 season.
Blake said in April that re-signing Doughty, who had an NHL career high with 60 points (10 goals, 50 assists) this season and is a finalist for the Norris Trophy, was the organization’s No. 1 priority.
“He knows right now our focus has been on the draft, and then I communicate with him,” Blake said. “We’ll sit down after and get things going.”
The 2018 NHL Draft is at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The first round is June 22 (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS). Rounds 2-7 are June 23 (11 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS).
Selected by the Kings with the No. 2 pick of the 2008 NHL Draft, Doughty has 422 points (102 goals, 320 assists) in 770 games with Los Angeles. He won the Norris Trophy in 2016 and helped the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014.
Blake said Doughty’s contract status would not hinder the Kings’ ability to make moves during the offseason. That could include interest in New York Islanders center John Tavares, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
“I think a lot of teams would be excited about the opportunity to entertain John Tavares for sure,” Blake said. “There’s still time before that period would even come, and then whether you’re one of the teams in on it, but it definitely would be something you would have to look at. I don’t think players of that caliber come around very often and especially at that age.”
Tavares, 27, was second on the Islanders this season with 84 points (37 goals, 47 assists).
Improving the offense remains a priority for the Kings, who scored three goals in their four-game loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference First Round.
Blake said the Kings have not decided if a qualifying offer will be made to forward Tobias Rieder. If the Kings make him an offer, he could become a restricted free agent July 1. Without a qualifying offer, he would become an unrestricted free agent.
Rieder, 25, had six points (four goals, two assists) in 20 games after being acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on Feb. 21.
“It’s kind of a holding pattern for us right now with him,” Blake said.