The Los Angeles Kings are expected to recall defenseman Jeff Schultz from AHL-Manchester in advance of Game 7. The recall, which is not official at this point, is an indication that Willie Mitchell is unlikely to be available tomorrow.
Though Matt Greene would be the likely defender to be inserted into the lineup if Mitchell is unable to play, Schultz’s recall would give the Kings insurance and an additional option.
Serving as a steady counterbalance to the youth on Manchester’s roster, Schultz’s leadership has been praised by Monarchs head coach Mark Morris, who in February noted that he “settles things down.” Having been paired with Colin Miller and Brayden McNabb for much of the season, Schultz’s experience and poise has been beneficial for the Monarchs, with whom the seven-year NHL veteran recorded two goals and 13 points in 67 games. He has been recalled twice this season but has not drawn into an NHL game since the 2012-13 season.
Obviously, this is not an encouraging development. Mitchell had been playing some of his best hockey in Games 3 through 6 and had been an integral cog in Los Angeles’ improved defensive execution. He had a key block on San Jose’s five-on-three man advantage shortly before the injury was speculated to have occurred.
I’ll have more to report on Mitchell’s availability this afternoon. Darryl Sutter is expected to meet with the media shortly.