The Kings trimmed their roster by 15 players on Monday, assigning forwards Michael Amadio, Justin Auger, Patrick Bjorkstrand and Joel Lowry, and defensemen Erik Cernak, Alex Lintuniemi and Damir Sharipzianov to the Ontario Reign, and assigning players under AHL contracts, including forwards Sean Backman, Paul Bissonnette, Justin Gutierrez, T.J. Hensick, Sam Herr and Brett Sutter, goaltender Jack Flinn, and tryout Lucas Lessio to the Reign’s training camp. Ontario’s training camp begins Tuesday morning, while Los Angeles concludes its preseason schedule with games against Dallas and Colorado in Las Vegas next weekend.
The roster moves leave 40 players on the active roster, though goaltenders Peter Budaj and Jack Campbell, forward Andrew Crescenzi and defenseman Vincent LoVerde will be added to Ontario’s roster tomorrow should they clear waivers.
There’s no great deal of surprise here, though Lessio, from what I’ve inferred – I actually haven’t seen him in person because of the split-squads – had a strong showing and would have an opportunity to earn an AHL contract.
The bigger news is who isn’t among the cuts: Devin Setoguchi. In speaking with hockey operations this week, I got the sense that there is a real shot for Setoguchi to earn a place on the roster as the team could benefit from his particular skill set in the absence of Marian Gaborik. It was explained that Setoguchi couldn’t have any “let-up” from the standout camp and preseason that he’s had thus far; in addition to his first period hammer from the top of the right circle in the win over Anaheim last Wednesday, he also forced an impressive turnover before issuing a slick pass to Adrian Kempe, nearly earning an assist when Kempe hit the inside of the post. It would make for an impressive story, given the personal challenges Setoguchi has emerged from over the past two years, and that he was more of a longshot to make the roster at the start of camp.
Kempe, who would be considered a slightly longer shot to make the roster, but could serve as a mid-season call-up, survived this round of roster trimming as well.
I’m tied up with a family engagement at the moment but will share some additional details on a Kings Men Podcast that we’re taping tonight. Rich Hammond is scheduled to share a Rams Report! We hope you’ll be able to tune in.