Drew Doughty is happy that one of the worst seasons in Los Angeles Kings history is over but the frustrations are going to linger for a long time.
“I guess a little bit of weight is lifted off my chest,” the defenseman said Monday as players went through end-of-season physicals and meetings. “I’m still (ticked) off I’m going to have to watch playoff hockey without us in it. This season’s never going to be erased from my mind no matter how hard I try. It was a terrible season.”
The Kings won just two of their first 10 games and were never able to find consistency. They finished with the second-worst record in the NHL and were last in the Western Conference with 71 points. It was Los Angeles’ lowest point total since 2007-08, when the Kings also finished with 71 points and tied Tampa Bay for the NHL’s worst mark.
“Because we started the season off so poorly it just kind of seemed like a domino effect and it just kept getting worse and worse and worse and we were never able to turn it on,” Doughty said.
Los Angeles was eliminated by Vegas in the first round of the playoffs last season and made few changes to the roster. That won’t be the case this offseason for a franchise that has not made the playoffs two of the past three years and hasn’t been beyond the first round since winning the Stanley Cup in 2014.
The first task for general manager Rob Blake will be finding a fourth coach in four seasons. John Stevens — who replaced Darryl Sutter after he led the franchise to two Stanley Cups in six years — lasted only 13 games into his second season and Willie Desjardins was brought in to finish the year as the interim coach.
Coaching changes usually provide some spark for a team but that never happened as the Kings dropped six of their first nine with Desjardins in charge.