Stamkos or Doughty?

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 21: Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings reacts after the goal of Sami Salo #6 of the Vancouver Canucks during the third period in game four of the Western Conference Quarter-final at Staples Center on April 21, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

I reside in Vancouver, and am a Canucks fan in addition to being a Lightning fan, so I still have a team in the playoff race. This isn't a Canucks post, but I need to set up why I am writing this, so bear with me here

During the 1st round of the playoffs I had the treat of watching the Canucks face the Kings in the first round. After a few bad games by the Canucks they turned it up and finished off the series off, with Luongo making some clutch saves. But one of the players that impressed a lot of people who watch the series was Drew Doughty.

In the East, you don't get to see him play much from all the late start times that the Kings have but since I watch quite a few Western Conference games I can attest to how great of a player Drew Doughty is. After the playoff series was done, one of the questions that was put forwards was "if you could go back to the 2008 draft, would you draft Steven Stamkos or Drew Doughty?"

It's hard to compare players who play different positions, but it's still an interesting question to ponder. Stamkos and Doughty were drafted #1 and #2 respectively in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. They both played in the OHL and were blowing it up in the juniors before they were drafted. When the Lightning drafted Stamkos it was a no brainer to choose him over Doughty. We have seen Stamkos mature over the past two years, but most Lightning fans haven't seen much of the Kings, so here's a little primer about Doughty:

 

In his first year in the NHL, Doughty played 81 games and got 6 goals and 21 assists, while logging some serious minutes on the LA blue line. He then went on with Stamkos to play in the World Championships last year in Switzerland and registered 1 goal and 6 assists in 9 games. At the WC's is where he really caught the eye of Team Canada. Steven Stamkos wasn't selected to Team Canada, but Drew Doughty was and he was instrumental in their gold medal win. This past season he played 82 games and notched 16 goals and 43 assists and in the six games in the playoffs this year he got 3 goals and 4 assists. Every time he touched the puck on a powerplay, Canuck fans were scared of Drew. With all of his offense, he reminds me a lot of Dan Boyle. He was just recently named a Norris trophy nominee.

Stamkos on the other hand has also made some serious accomplishments. Scoring 51 goals has made him tie Sidney Crosby for the Rocket Richard Trophy and become the 3rd youngest player to break the 50 goal mark, which is really no small feat. At the WC's last year, in 9 games he scored 7 goals and had 4 assists but did not get named to Team Canada in the Olympics, though many people felt that he should have been.

So in Drew you have a Norris trophy nominee and in Stamkos, an Rocket Richard trophy winner, tough decision as to who you would prefer on your team. Obviously it depends on what your team needs, either an offensive defenseman who can quarterback the powerplay or a goalscorer like Stamkos. Both are franchise players that you can build a team around.

I agree with the selection that the Lightning made, since 50+ goal scoring forwards are hard to come by, but it's still a curious question to toss around in the off season. Is the fact that the Lightning have no good offensive defensemen like Doughty make you even consider that Doughty would have been a better choice? Imagine if Tampa had drafted Doughty and taken Duchene in the next year? That's all in hindsight of course.

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