EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — While the surprising Los Angeles Kings battle for a playoff position in the Western Conference, veteran defenseman Drew Doughty will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his wrist.
The former Norris Trophy winner had surgery Monday, the team said. He is expected to be ready for training camp, but his absence damages the Kings’ hopes of ending their three-year playoff drought.
Doughty was injured March 7 in a game at Boston, and he hasn’t played in 16 consecutive games since March 10. The defenseman has rarely dealt with significant injury problems in a 14-year NHL career spent entirely with the Kings, but he appeared in a career-low 39 games this season.
Doughty is still the Kings’ top scorer among defensemen with seven goals and 24 assists. His absence has forced the Kings to use inexperienced replacements on the blue line, and subpar defensive play has contributed to Los Angeles’ late-season slide.
The Kings (38-26-10) have lost three straight games and 10 of their last 19 heading into a game at Chicago on Tuesday night. Los Angeles is still in third place in the Pacific Division, but its lead over fourth-place Vegas has shrunk to two points, with the Golden Knights holding a game in hand.
An anchor on the Los Angeles back line, Doughty, 32, was a part of the Kings’ two Stanley Cup championships.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.