The new CBA states that a player drafted in 2008 can become an unrestricted free agent after 7 years of NHL play, or age 27. So my question is, why in the world are the Kings in a hurry to play Thomas Hickey and Drew Doughty, or any other draft pick for that matter so soon?
Drew Doughty will start the season at age 18, potentially making him an unrestricted free agent at age 25! If defensemen don't come into their own at this age anyways, then what is the rush?
GM Dean Lombardi is usually thinking long-term when he makes his decisions. If Drew Doughty goes back to juniors, the Kings can extend his career within the organization to age 27. He is going to make a bigger impact age 26 and 27 than he is at age 18 and 19.
Many people believe that Doughty will be a King on opening night, and that his 2-3 million dollar contract he is expected to receive is a big part of getting to the salary cap floor. If this happens, seven years from now it will be looked back on as a BIG mistake.