Folin to IR; Gravel recalled - LA Kings Insider

The Los Angeles Kings recalled 25-year-old defenseman Kevin Gravel on Wednesday after announcing Tuesday that defenseman Christian Folin would go on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. Folin was injured during the 4-1 win at Philadelphia on Monday and did not return after the first period.

In light of Folin’s injury, the question was essentially whether Los Angeles would recall Gravel, a left-handed defender who can play both sides, or Paul LaDue, a right-handed defenseman, to replace Folin, a right-handed defenseman. Both Gravel and LaDue have NHL experience and had distanced themselves from those with less professional experience on Ontario’s roster, which does not include any other blue liners who have played in the NHL.

The 6-foot-5, 212-pound Gravel has three goals and nine points in 24 games with the Reign this season and totaled one goal and seven points in 49 games with the Kings last season. LaDue, also 25, has four goals and 10 points in 22 games with Ontario.

Though it had been expected that Los Angeles would essentially provide opportunities to Ontario players who earned NHL looks, that has happened to a greater degree on offense than on defense, where the team has dealt with minor injuries to Alec Martinez (who missed three games) in early October and Oscar Fantenberg (who missed two) in late October but has otherwise remained healthy. Other than LaDue’s call-up when Martinez was not able to open the year with the club, this is the first roster move in which a Reign defenseman was recalled. On the other hand, Michael Amadio, Andrew Crescenzi and Justin Auger were all recalled from Ontario, and Brooks Laich, who attended training camp on a PTO, was signed to a one-year contract earlier in the season.

Based on recent conversations, the team has been happy with Gravel and LaDue, both of whom have logged heavy minutes for the 12-11-0-1 Reign. During this check-in, I also asked about players beyond the familiar names (see: Gravel, LaDue, etc.) that have impressed, and was interested to learn that both 21-year-old Stepan Falkovsky and 23-year-old Sean Walker were progressing nicely in their first AHL seasons. Both are well behind the NHL-cusp players – and Walker is Ontario, and not Los Angeles property – but have provided encouraging play early in the season.

More to come from John Stevens and the dressing room later this morning…

David Becker/NHLI

-Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

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Kevin Gravel

#4 | 6′ 4″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: DOB: 2/17/1996
Birthplace: KINGSFORD, MI
Position: D


Gravel made his NHL debut with Los Angeles in the 2015-16 season, skating with the Kings for four games before returning to AHL affiliate Ontario.

Rob Scuderi

#0 | 6′ 1″ | 212 lb | Age: 37

Born: DOB: 12/30/1978
Birthplace: SYOSSET, NY
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Scuderi is currently playing for the Reign while under contract with the LA Kings. He has won two Stanley Cups, once with the Pittsburgh Penguins and with the Kings.

Michael Mersch

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 225 lb | Age: 24

Born: DOB: 10/2/1992
Birthplace: PARK RIDGE, IL
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Drafted by the Kings in 2011, Mersch is currently playing forward for the Reign. Last season, he drew into his first NHL game for the Kings, where he registered 2 shots and 3 hits.

Michael Latta

#24 | 6′ 0″ | 207 lb | Age: 25

Born: 5/25/1991
Birthplace: KITCHENER, ON
Position: F
Handedness: Right


Prior to turning professional, Latta played major junior hockey in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s and Guelph Storm. He was drafted into the NHL in 2009 and joined the King’s affiliate Reign in 2016.

Adrian Kempe

#09 | 6′ 1″ | 187 lb | Age: 20

Born: 9/13/1996
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Growing up in Swedan, Kempe made his hockey debut in 2014 in the Swedish Hockey League. He has since been drafted by the Kings, where he is playing for their AHL affiliate team, the Ontario Reign.

Brett Sutter

#07 | 6′ 0″ | 192 lb | Age: 29

Born: 6/2/1987
Birthplace: CALGARY, AB
Position: C


Drafted in 2005 by the Calgary Flames, Sutter was traded to the Reign in 2016. He is the son of LA Kings head couch Darryl Sutter, and the eighth member of the Sutter family to play in the NHL.