The Los Angeles Kings placed defenseman Jamie McBain on waivers earlier today, according to a source in hockey operations. Via media reports, goaltender J-F Berube and defenseman Vincent LoVerde were also placed on waivers.
Today is a heavy waiver day in the NHL, as teams must pare their rosters down to 23 players by Tuesday afternoon. It will be learned by Tuesday morning whether these players have cleared so that they may be assigned to AHL-Ontario.
Of the three players on waivers, McBain is the most newsworthy. With the prior understanding that the team was most likely to keep seven defensemen and that Jake Muzzin, Drew Doughty, Christian Ehrhoff, Alec Martinez, Matt Greene and Brayden McNabb would open the season as regulars on the blue line – both Muzzin and Greene, who were rehabilitating upper-body injuries last week, took part in practice this morning – it was expected that McBain, Jeff Schultz and Derek Forbort would compete for the final defensive spot on the roster.
That expectation, though, was altered when it was learned that Dwight King was being held out of practice as he was “being checked out for a injury,” via hockey ops. After practice, it was learned that both Muzzin and Greene were deemed “doubtful” to start the season by Darryl Sutter, and King will be out “for an extended period of time,” per Sutter – lots more on that soon – so it remains to be seen whether the club will still open the season with 14 forwards and seven defensemen on the roster. For what it’s worth, when speaking with LA Kings Insider after practice, Muzzin exuded confidence in his ability to step into the lineup Wednesday night against San Jose. In any regards, this is a fluid situation, and there’s still a ways to go before the roster is finalized. It is possible that multiple players could open the season on injured reserve.
Both Jeff Schultz, who also would have had to clear waivers, and Forbort, who would not have to clear, were on the ice with the team Monday morning.
Michael Mersch, who was not on the ice, is expected to be assigned to AHL-Ontario. According to hockey operations, the team is “still waiting on a decision” for Brian O’Neill, who would also have to clear waivers and was not on the ice with the club. That decision may come Tuesday.
As for Berube, Bob McKenzie dropped an interesting piece of information.
LAK expected to put G J.F. Berube on waivers today (Quick/Enroth in net). The 24-yr-old could get claimed. More than one team with interest.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 5, 2015
Would Berube get claimed, expect the Kings to sign Peter Budaj, who attended training camp on a PTO. Ontario’s goaltending is unsettled at the moment, as Patrik Bartosak is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on his thumb.
There’s much, much more to come on injuries and roster construction from Toyota Sports Center today.