Friday, September 16, 2011
Drew Doughty doesn't take physical
By Dan Arritt
Drew Doughty is now missing Los Angeles Kings activities.
Doughty, the 21-year-old free-agent defenseman, did not report to physicals and fitness testing Friday in El Segundo, Calif., and general manager Dean Lombardi said his absence could be counted against him in further negotiations.
"We have to look at scenarios because he's missed a day of work now," Lombardi told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun on Friday. "There has to be some finality. This has been a long process. We started this in June."
Lombardi told LeBrun that his club has gone as far as it can with its last offer. While Lombardi wouldn't confirm what that offer was, sources confirmed to ESPN.com that it's seven years and $6.8 million per season in average -- the same annual pay as Anze Kopitar, the team's leading scorer the last four seasons -- but Doughty's representatives are reportedly looking for $7 million per season and fewer years on the contract.
"There's no doubt in my mind we can look Drew in the eye and say this is a fair offer," Lombardi told LeBrun. "It's out there in terms of where (the offer) would put him in the league as a defenseman and where he is on our team. That's our best offer. That's fair to say. What we put out there is out best offer."
Lombardi said he made the current offer before July 1, so the Kings would have a better handle on how much could be invested on other players and still remain under the salary cap. They also wanted to keep close tabs on Doughty's conditioning, a factor in his slow start last season.
Lombardi told L.A. Kings Insider that he made three trips to Toronto over the summer to meet with Doughty's agent, Don Meehan, and has had near-daily communication in recent days, but he's running out of things to say.
"I can't think of discussing something that hasn't already been discussed," he said. "In June, we took an enormous amount of time, and then it picked up again in August. We're probably just tapped out, even from talking, but it doesn't mean we won't."
Still, Lombardi hasn't shut the door on talks with Meehan.
"We're always open to talk," Lombardi told LeBrun. "The dialogue remains open."
Meehan declined comment to ESPN.com.
Doughty was a Norris Trophy finalist in 2009-10, his second year in the NHL, but his offensive production declined last season.
Dan Arritt covers the NHL for ESPNLosAngeles.com.