Gaborik could return tonight; Laich waived; minor Dowd injury; no Mitchell yet - LA Kings Insider

Good morning from Glendale, where there’s a good chance Marian Gaborik will make his 2017-18 season debut against the Coyotes at Gila River Arena. (6:00 p.m. PT / FOX Sports West / FUBO TV / FOX Sports GO / KABC 790 / I Heart Radio).

John Stevens said he wasn’t yet sure as to whether Gaborik would return tonight and would talk to the trainers before making the final decision.

“He’s getting close,” Stevens said. “He’s not week-to-week anymore, he’s day-to-day. He’s been integrated into full practice and I think he’s getting close.”

But the sense I have is that Gaborik expects to play tonight, and not only because he led the team in stretching at the end of the morning skate, as shown above. Earlier this week, there were discussions between Stevens, Gaborik, the trainers and the doctors that indicated that a return this week was very possible.

Should the Kings activate Gaborik prior to game time, there would need to be a corresponding move because of the arrival of Torrey Mitchell, who was acquired yesterday from Montreal but did not join the team in Glendale. “Immigration issues need to be worked out first,” a team source said.

Once Mitchell joins the team, he should be able to provide a veteran checking presence with speed and strong detail.

“He plays center and wing, but he’s very good in the faceoff circle, skates really well, a really smart defensive player and plays hard, so I think that element of speed and responsibility will be a really good addition,” Stevens said.

The Kings waived Brooks Laich this morning, as first reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, but Laich will remain on the roster until he is claimed, or clears waivers and is hypothetically assigned. (There was no immediate word from hockey ops on whether Laich would report to Ontario, should he clear.) Laich has one assist in 12 games with Los Angeles. One possibility is that the club could place Nic Dowd on injured reserve. Dowd did not travel with the team after suffering a minor undisclosed injury late in Wednesday’s loss to Winnipeg and is unavailable tonight.. “At the end of the game we got word that something was up,” Stevens said. “He skated yesterday, but still it was a situation where you didn’t think it was the best interest to travel, so we left him home, just giving the best opportunity to recover quicker.” He’s not expected to be out for any extended length of time.

Gaborik, 35, has not played this season after undergoing a “more in-depth medical procedure for a chronic issue related to his left knee” early in the off-season. There were some whispers he might be able to rejoin the team near the outset of the season, but after progressing during training camp, was held off the ice for the first half of October. Regaining the momentum in his comeback, he progressed in recent weeks to the point in which he was fully integrated into practice, making his return virtually imminent. The last game he played was the 2016-17 finale in Anaheim, which capped off a 56-game, 10-goal, 21-point season. In 989 career games, Gaborik has 396 goals and 794 points.

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.