EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Drew Doughty could be out for the rest of the regular season, Los Angeles Kings general manager Rob Blake said Monday.
The defenseman hasn’t played since March 7 because of an upper-body injury.
“It’s a little early to say,” Blake said. “I think we’ll exhaust every option possible. I mean, he’s out there skating now but not participating in drills and things. That’ll be an assessment with the doctor in the next few days to understand the next step to see if he can come back and play.”
Doughty, who leads Kings defensemen in goals (seven), assists (24) and points (31) in 39 games, is one of eight Los Angeles players on injured reserve. That includes four of the six defensemen who played for the Kings on opening night Oct. 14: Doughty, matt roy (lower body), Sean Walker (torn ACL, out for the season) and Mikey Anderson (upper body). Defenseman Alexander Edlerwho also played in the season opener, returned Thursday after missing 36 games because of a broken ankle.
Forwards Viktor Arvidson (lower body), Brendan Lemieux (lower body), Dustin Brown (upper body) and Andreas Athanasiou (upper body) are also on injured reserve.
In need of experience on the blue line, the Kings acquired defenseman Troy Stecher from the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday for a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. Stecher has scored 88 points (15 goals, 73 assists) in 346 NHL games with the Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks.
Stecher played four seasons (2016-20) with Edler in Vancouver, and they worked together in practice Monday.
“Just a little experience depth,” Blake said. “A competitive player that gives (coach) Todd [McLellan] an option to get in that lineup.”
Arvidsson, who hasn’t played since March 6 because of a lower-body injury, and defenseman Tobias Bjornfot, who hasn’t played since March 13 because of a lower-body injury, could be back at practice this week. Lemieux, who last played March 4, and Roy, who last played March 12, could be back on the ice next week.
But Brown (March 12) and Athanasiou (March 10) are not scheduled to skate soon. Blake said Anderson, who was injured March 7, is expected to miss 4-to-6 more weeks, which would mean the earliest he’d return would be with less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, which ends April 29.
The Kings (34-22-8) are second in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of the third-place Edmonton Oilers. Los Angeles is four points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights, who hold the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.
The Kings host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday (10:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, HULU, NHL LIVE).
Blake said he likes the Kings’ chances of making the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18 but that they have to improve their special teams. Entering Monday, Los Angeles ranked 28th in the NHL on the power play (15.6 percent) and 27th on the penalty kill (74.3 percent).
“These guys have put themselves in a real good spot, but we need to get better,” Blake said. “We need our special teams to be much better.”