VANCOUVER -- It didn't take long for Drew Doughty to start getting mentioned in the same breath as Bobby Orr.
The Los Angeles Kings' 20-year-old defenseman was named a finalist for this season's Norris Trophy, making him the second-youngest in League history to receive that distinction. Orr was 19 when he earned the honor in 1967, but lost out on the award to the Rangers' Harry Howell.
Orr made up for it by winning the trophy the next eight seasons. If Doughty wins this year, only Orr will have won it at an earlier age.
"I think you can always get a little better at something, but I think for Drew, as long as he works on his consistency, night in and night out, I think he'll be mentioned as a finalist a few more times." -- Rob Scuderi
Doughty is a finalist along with Washington's Mike Green and Chicago's Duncan Keith. Green, Keith and Doughty finished 1-2-3, respectively, in points among blueliners. Doughty's 43 assists, 59 points and plus-20 place him at the bottom of those categories among the finalists, but he leads all defensemen in playoff scoring with 2 goals and 4 assists in four games.
"He's a young defenseman that has everything that it takes to be an impact player in this League," said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. "He's got great skill and competes real hard. He plays extremely well under pressure. You just have to look at what he did this year at the Olympics. He was definitely one of the best defensemen on the ice for Team Canada. He's just continued to progress and it's a well-deserved honor for him."
Doughty's game has flourished after a rookie season that saw him post 6 goals, 21 assists and a minus-17 rating. He also picked up his physical play. After connecting for 90 hits last season, that number increased to 157 in his second season.
But since he's still just a 20-year-old, can Doughty get better?
"I think you can always get a little better at something, but I think for Drew, as long as he works on his consistency, night in and night out, I think he'll be mentioned as a finalist a few more times," said defensive partner Rob Scuderi.
"As far as I'm concerned, I don't think I've ever seen anyone come in and handle everything just as well as he has. His patience and his poise are something that really jump out at you for someone his age."
Scuderi admitted to having different priorities as a 20-year-old, saying, "I think at 20, I was still trying to get into bars at BC (Boston College)."
Terry Murray joked that coaching was the key to Doughty becoming a finalist, but the Kings' coach gave much of the credit to Doughty's experience at this year's Olympics, where he was part of Team Canada's gold-medal winning team.
"It's incredible how he's grown from the post-Olympics," Murray said. "He developed another level of a game when he came back from playing with the world-class level. He can play with the best players in the world. He reads off things effortlessly. He's becoming a dynamic player."
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