With training camps getting underway today, and the L.A. Kings camp marred by the absence of Drew Doughty, we can officially call him a holdout. Rich Hammond of L.A. Kings Insider spoke with GM Dean Lombardi regarding the stalemated Doughty negotiations and what the lies ahead for the 21-year old defenseman.
Lombardi noted that the valuation for any proposed deal for Doughty was based on 275 days of work which could potentially mean that any salary figure for Doughty would decline for every day that he is absent from the Kings. Hammond goes on to play with some math based on the purported $6.8 million annual value of the Kings’ most recent offer to Doughty, noting that the total would decline by as much as $24,727.27 per day!
How’s about putting that towards my student loan debt, Lombardi?
Here are some highlights from Hammond’s transcript of his chat with Lombardi:
“Obviously we’re very disappointed that he’s not here. I don’t think it’s any secret, what we think of this player and his abilities and what his potential is. So that’s certainly not an issue, as far as the quality of the player or the quality of the person. We hold both to high regard. That said, a couple things. I don’t want to get into the intricacies what we offered, in terms of the minute details. It’s safe to say that, as far as the big picture within the league, we certainly made him an offer that puts him amongst the top defensemen in the league. Then you look at your team. It’s no secret that he would be at the top of our team.”
Lombardi would get into the idea of the 275 work days and was asked whether there was currently an offer on the table:
“The problem we have, and we’re going to have to see how this evolves, is that generally with a player, you establish his market value and he signs up for 275 days of work. That was the one thing that changed during the CBA, that players were paid during training camp. So, quite frankly, it’s the way we have to approach this. Let alone missing a day or work, as well as getting behind your teammates in terms of preparation. It probably makes this a little more difficult, but you have to factor that in now. You’re not getting a full year’s work as of today.”
“Yeah. Well, it’s not that one [previous offer]. It doesn’t mean, certainly, that there isn’t going to be dialogue. The point is that missing days of work has to now factor into this negotiation. There’s no doubt in my mind that this kid is going to play here and play here a long time. But now, like I said, missing a day of work has to be factored into this. It’s no different than any other player. The lines of communication are certainly open. There was a cordial discussion last night, and that’s it.”
Still, despite the communication breakdown, Lombardi remains positive that something will get worked out. He noted that there’s a good feeling around camp, but the disappointment of Doughty’s absence can’t be understated:
“Well, I don’t know. Like I said, there’s no doubt this kid loves the game and loves this team. It’s disappointing. It’s not that I’m not encouraged that he’s going to be here. Obviously there’s a great feel around camp. The players are excited. But let’s face it, Drew is a key part of this process. But right now, we have to focus on the team. The players, they understand what’s going on and they’re pretty focused today, as is everybody else. That’s the way you have to be. We have to focus on doing what we’re doing right now. Like I said, these things can change in a short time. It’s not that it’s not encouraging. It’s a little disappointing, but we’re also excited as to what I’m seeing and feeling downstairs. We see this kind of thing happen, and eventually it will be resolved. We can’t let this, in any way, derail us from the focus we need here every day.”
A thorough reading of the entire transcript is well worth your time, as Lombardi is fairly candid throughout most of the conversation. It looks like one of the summer’s biggest dramas will now spill over into the fall, and quite possibly the season.
Buckle up, Kings fans.