Friday lineups; Brodzinski surgery; LaDue playing a faster game after "slow start" - LA Kings Insider

A good afternoon to you from El Segundo, Insiders. The LA Kings held a highly optional skate at Toyota Sports Center this morning, as expected. With the back-to-back late in the preseason, and evaluations still taking place, the Kings will not ice their top lineup against the Golden Knights this evening. Those who took the ice this morning were Dion Phaneuf, Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Ilya Kovalchuk, Dustin Brown, Derek Forbort and Jeff Carter. They’re not expected to play, which means that based off yesterday’s template, it’s possible we could see combinations of Pearson-Amadio-Toffoli, Iafallo-Kempe-Etem, Clifford-Thompson-Lewis and Wagner-Anderson-Dolan-Luff, though those aren’t confirmed. Defensemen will be all but one of Oscar Fantenberg, Paul LaDue, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, Kale Clague, Kurtis MacDermid and Daniel Brickley.

Several notes:

–I’m expecting Jack Campbell to start in goal, with Cal Petersen backing him up. Again, tonight’s lineup is reflective of the continued evaluative period, along with the compressed schedule. “We’re just trying to get a real good look at guys and give them opportunities maybe they don’t normally get, and at the same time, we’re conscious of the back-to-back going into the weekend. We’d like to see those guys continue to improve to get another chance to be evaluated,” John Stevens said.

–The Golden Knights are expected to ice a lineup of Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith, Pacioretty-Stastny-Haula, Tuch-Nosek-Carpenter and Carrier-Bellemare-Reaves with defensive pairings of Engelland-Theodore, McNabb-Miller and Holden-Merrill. Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start in goal.

–LA Kings Insider learned early in the week that surgery was becoming a likelihood for forward Jonny Brodzinski, who suffered a shoulder injury in last Thursday’s preseason shootout loss at Vancouver. That surgery has taken place, as confirmed by Lisa Dillman; Brodzinski remains out indefinitely.

–If Derek Forbort (back) is going to get into a preseason game – Stevens said on Tuesday that the team would be “prudent in the process of getting him fully healthy” – it will be Saturday against Anaheim. “I haven’t heard anything different, but I said we’d like to get him into a game,” Stevens said. “If we couldn’t, if they didn’t think it was right, we’d still have a week to get ready. But we’d like to get him in a game, for sure.” Stevens confirmed that Saturday’s lineup at Staples Center versus Anaheim will essentially be the projected lineup to start the season.

–Paul LaDue has improved after a slow start to training camp. “We thought the beginning just maybe wasn’t as clean as we wanted him to be both defending and with the puck, but as training camp’s gone along, he’s started to play a faster game. He’s been more tenacious and competitive in his defending, and he’s been able to initiate the attack by using his feet and making plays, so I think he’s improved as we’ve gone along,” Stevens said.

–Austin Wagner and Matt Luff are expected to play tonight after a strong showing Wednesday in Anaheim. Stevens was encouraged by how both players were able to play their games in a difficult NHL setting against a team icing its projected lineup to open the season. “Wags is a straight-line guy that really uses his speed as an asset, and Luffer, I thought, did a lot more with the puck, especially off the wall. Moved his feet and made some plays, which we were hoping to see from them. I thought they played with a lot more confidence against a pretty good lineup,” he said.

–The NHL Network has tonight’s game on its national broadcast schedule. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Be on the lookout this afternoon for a new feature called “Teach Me.” The “Teach Me” feature will take one hockey topic, no matter how mundane, arbitrary or centrally associated with team operations, and allow a player to teach Kings fans about that subject. Several ideas for this feature will be “Teach Me: Warm-Ups,” “Teach Me: Handling the Media,” “Teach Me: Playing in Montreal” and “Teach Me: Getting Traded,” and should hopefully provide an interesting glimpse into the players’ day-to-day work environments. Anze Kopitar was our first guest. The story should be out at/around 2:00 p.m.

-Lead photo via Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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.