In my watching of the 2008 World Junior Hockey Championship there has been constant talk of the top two guys for the 2008 Entry Draft in Ottawa. The consensus seems to be that Canadian Steven Stamkos will go #1 and Drew Doughty, a Canadian defender, will go #2. I was quite surprised by this aspect because of the games I have seen Doughty play I have been surprisingly underwhelmed and downright appalled at his defensive play. Granted at times Doughty can be solid on the back end but he seems to love the offensive part of the game more. So much so that they lead to defensive breakdowns leading directly to goals. One such game occurred in Ottawa when the Guelph Storm (Doughty's CHL home) were facing the 67's. Doughty made some great end to end rushes solely by himself. His stride and puck-handling was exceptional. However, whenever he attempted a break-out pass to his forwards or was defending an odd-man break things went south. I counted about a half dozen giveaways by #8 about half of which lead to goals. His play was so bad that Doughty was benched for the end of the third. The Storm ended up losing 10-4, so granted it wasn't Guelph's night and it may have been an off-day for him. Fast-forward to the WJHC and Doughty's the #2 guy on the blueline lining up next to Washington Capitals draft pick Karl Alzner. The first game against the Czechs was horrible for Doughty. He was falling, giving up the puck, losing his man repeatedly. Pierre Mcguire and his colour commentating wisdom kept repeating "its jitters, he will get better." I took that with a grain of salt due to my previous viewings of Drew's play. However, Doughty made me eat my words with a solid game against the Slovaks which included a very nice neutral zone spin-o-rama which lead directly to a Kyle Turris power play goal. But then the wheels came off against Sweden. Doughty was responsible for the winning goal with 7 seconds left in the third period. On a two on one break Doughty decided to dive at the puck carrier. Problem was he missed badly and the Swede was able to get the puck over to a know very wide open Tobias Forsberg who potted the winner, forcing Canada into 2nd in the group and into a quarterfinal match (currently in progress) against the Finns. Seems to me the first thing that's taught to D is on a 2on1 take away the pass and let the goalie deal with the shooter. Now you may poo poo my arguments due to the fact I haven't seen Doughty play all his games. This is true. I have only seen about a dozen of his games. Yet every game there is at least one defensive lapse that leads to a goal. If Doughty is to go #2 that means he's touted as a #1-2 Dman in the NHL. If he doesn't improve on his defensive game though he's going to be deemed a failure on the NHL level (unless of course you want a Bryan McCabe type).
In my opinion, Luke Schenn on Canada would be a better bet at #2 than Doughty based solely on the 5 games I've seen him play at this WJHC. Defensively, he's far superior to Doughty and from what I can tell comparable offensively (although Schenn hasn't gotten nearly as much time on the PP as Doughty has).
I'm curious, does any one else out there agree with me? Or am I the only one who thinks that Doughty's standing is very much overrated?
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