Kings make 18 cuts; a conversation with Mersch - LA Kings Insider

The Kings trimmed their roster by 18 players on Saturday, bringing the number of players on the roster to 34.

Assigned to Ontario (AHL):
Justin Auger – RW
Patrik Bartosak – G
Jonny Brodzinski – C
Nic Dowd – C
Nick Ebert – D
Kevin Gravel – D
Adrian Kempe – LW
Maxim Kitsyn – LW
Zachary Leslie – D
Alex Lintuniemi – D
Kurtis MacDermid – D
Alex Roach – D
Scott Sabourin – RW
Valentin Zykov – RW

Released from Pro Tryout:
Sean Backman – RW
Paul Bissonnette – LW
Ryan Horvat – LW
Kevin Raine – D

-There are no surprises here. All players listed above will participate in Ontario’s camp, which begins Monday. Damir Sharipzyanov, for now, is still with the Kings as he works back from a wrist injury suffered during Russia’s summer World Junior camp. The 19-year-old will report back to OHL-Owen Sound when his Los Angeles rehabilitation concludes.

-I don’t see Erik Cernak’s name on the list, and the defenseman wasn’t listed among the September 22 transactions. This may just be an oversight; in speaking with hockey operations, I’ve gotten the sense that Erie is very much back in play as a potential destination for the 6-foot-3, 203-pound defenseman. There were multiple options for where Cernak could play – and I’ve heard different hypothetical destinations when speaking with various members of hockey operations since the draft – but as of now, Erie may now be the most likely landing spot. Cernak has the better part of two years of professional hockey under his belt with HC Kosice, with whom he won Slovakia Extraliga titles in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

UPDATE, 3:45 PM: Joel Lowry isn’t listed with the cuts, because injured players can’t be subject to roster moves. This doesn’t apply to players on pro tryouts. Also, Andrew Crescenzi was placed on waivers today with the intent that he’ll be assigned to Ontario once he clears. I’ll share information on why Cernak wasn’t among today’s roster moves, should it be newsworthy.

-Michael Mersch is getting a good, long look at training camp and remains with the club. This isn’t a big surprise; though he’s seen as being not quite as ready for earning playing time with the big club as Brian O’Neill or Jordan Weal, the expectation was that he’d spend another half a season in the AHL before he’d be re-evaluated for a chance at a mid-season call-up. Fortunately the Badgers are playing later tonight – hopefully the Big Ten Network is part of the channel package at our hotel in Denver – and this afternoon Mersch shared some time to talk to LA Kings Insider about his experience through three preseason games, in which he has registered one goal and four shots.

Michael Mersch, on whether it was a goal to remain in camp this late in the preseason:
Yeah, absolutely. It’s been a great experience. I’ve said this before, but last year was kind of a little bit of an eye-opener and I had to go and work really hard down in Manchester, and then build up a lot of things and work on my game. Coming into this camp, I felt a little more comfortable. I still need to work hard. It’s really fast paced out there. I think the goal is to get better every day, and by getting better every day, hopefully it gives you the best chance at staying around.

Mersch, on his NHL battles down low, and how they compare to college and AHL battles:
It’s all kind of the same mindset and the same way I play. I’ve got a few different moves that I like to use, and I kind of stick to those, and then reading off the new, different players. Everybody’s bigger and stronger, so you just have got to get more comfortable with having a little more pressure on you. A big thing is the strength and size of guys, and I’m just trying to figure out how my game works in that kind of system.

Mersch, on whether he’s “satisfied” with his performance in training camp:
I don’t think ‘satisfied’ is the right word for it. IT’s been a great experience so far, and hopefully I can keep building on that stuff like the goal I scored, and some of the plays and shooting the puck, playing down in the offensive zone. So I’m building on that stuff and keep adding onto it and getting more comfortable – I think that’s what I’m trying to work on. I don’t know what the right word would be, but working hard and getting better is what I’m trying to do.

Mersch, on how many AHL goals he scored from as far out as his goal Tuesday:
I was trying to tell a few guys, ‘That was a pretty far goal for me.’ No one really gets it up here, but hopefully I’ll put a few more in the back of the net. Whether they’re closer or farther, I’ll take ‘em, but hopefully they’ll get the gist of the joke by then.