Kings playing a risky game with Doughty

The complex and dangerous game the Los Angeles Kings are playing with Drew Doughty could wind up impacting their franchise for the rest of this decade.

They are, in essence, screwing around with their own future and the pettiness of general manager Dean Lombardi — threatening to penalize Doughty for every day he remains unsigned — borders on the juvenile.

With Doughty, one of the few franchise defencemen in hockey, the Kings can contend for the Stanley Cup, if not this year, then certainly next year. Without him, they have no chance. But potentially poisoning the relationship between the team and the one of the few indispensable players in hockey, is fool’s play.

Steven Stamkos signed a five-year, $37.5-million US deal with the Lightning — $7.5 million a season — and you can make a clear case that a 28-minute-a-game defenceman can impact a team far greater than a scoring centre can: Which means the comparable salary is either what Stamkos is earning or more.

The Kings are offering a long-term deal at Anze Kopitar money. Too long a deal. Not enough money. And who knows what residual effects will be left behind assuming Doughty eventually signs — assuming the animosity between team and player comes to an end.