He knows it’s going to be a thing. Drew Doughty knows that the closer it gets to the summer of 2019, when he could hit free agency, the more often he’s going to be asked about his future.

And not only his future, but the future of some of the best defensemen in the league.

Right now, he seems fine with it. Actually, before it gets crazy, he seems to be kind of enjoying it.

“I’ve thought about it actually lately, I don’t know why,” Doughty told The Athletic. “I kind of just thought about my options and stuff like that. I never know what’s going to happen.”

The summer of 2019 sounds far off, like a time in the future when we’ll all be traveling through Elon Musk tunnels, but in the world of the hockey free agents, it isn’t.

Doughty can sign an extension with the Los Angeles Kings in July. And if the Kings follow the blueprint used for other high-profile stars, there will at least be some exploratory talks coming soon, although an...