Brief Vilardi/Kempe/Forbort/LaDue/SOTF updates; lots more to come - LA Kings Insider

INSIDERS. A good Tuesday to you as we wake, bleary-eyed, in September’s gentle light. LAKI and ORI’s gears and batteries have been oiled and re-charged, and we’re ready to hit the ground running when on-ice rookie camp sessions begin on Friday and continue this weekend with the annual rookie tournament. Here’s the upcoming schedule, which is always subject to tweaks and changes:

Friday, September 6: 10 a.m. – Practice (TSPC)
Saturday, September 7 10 a.m. – Practice (TSPC); 5 p.m. – Game vs. Anaheim (Great Park Ice)
Sunday, September 8: 1 p.m. – Game vs. Colorado (Great Park Ice)
Monday, September 9: 10 a.m. – Practice (TSPC)
Tuesday, September 10: 1 p.m. – Game vs. San Jose (Great Park Ice)
Wednesday, September 11: 9:30 a.m. – Practice (TSPC)

After a recovery day on September 12, training camp gets going on Friday, September 13. The first preseason games will be Ye Olde Split Squads versus Arizona on Tuesday, September 17.

FOR YOUR RECORDS. New tenants in ‘Gundo. The Keck Medicine USC and Meyer Institute of Sport is now open. Also, Toyota Sports Center is now Toyota Sports Performance Center. It is still located at 555 N. Nash St. in El Segundo and will hereforth be referenced as TSPC. this may take some getting used to.

UPDATES. The State of the Franchise was held late last week at The Novo at L.A. Live, so big stick taps to those who commuted in on a holiday Friday (and slightly softer stick taps to those who commuted out and unclogged roads and freeways for the rare weekend).

Apart from the These Guys Are Motivated minutiae, there were important bits of information, all of which will be shared in quotes and notebook-style factoids later today and tomorrow. First, the bullet points’ bullet points:

–Nothing imminent with Adrian Kempe as of last Friday. “They’re getting close,” Rob Blake said to reporters after the event. “Wish I could give you better news tonight. But again, I’m not concerned that’s going to drag on.” I was about to follow up on the subject this morning, but all prior check-ins had indicated little reason for concern, so I’m going to hold off on that for the next few days.

–Gabe Vilardi (back) remains on the sideline. “He’ll be here for [main] camp, but he will not be on the ice,” Blake said. He also shared an update during his presentation to season ticket members, saying that despite progression – depicted here via The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman ($) – he’ll remain in sneakers rather than skates.

–Derek Forbort (back) is unlikely to be ready for the start of training camp, while Paul LaDue (knee) may be limited at its outset.

“Paul LaDue had a procedure right after the season on his knee, and he’s been back on the ice now. He’s progressing the right way – I’m not sure he’s going to be full-go day one at camp at camp, but it looks like Forbort’s going to be a little delayed.”

“He’s had it on-and-off,” Blake continued. “Played with a lot of it last year, so they’re working on some things there.”

–I asked Blake about providing mental health resources for players after he had mentioned providing such outreach, and it sounds like the team is interested in diversifying their own in-house methods. “I think there’s a player wellness or player health and wellness division that we’ve got to build out within our team, and inside that division you’re going to have you nutritionist, you’re going to have your sleep [doctor], you’re going to have a psychologist, and I think you’re going to have a mental health [professional], and I think we’ve got to be open to it and we’ve got to look at a lot of different aspects these players are dealing with and a lot of different outside things, but we want to have all those resources available for our players if they need.” John Mayer currently heads the medical and conditioning wing as Director, Player Health and Performance, while Kristy Morrell has served as Sports Dietician; in the past they’ve also called upon Brantt Myhres’ guidance as part of a Player Assistance role.

–Via Justin Williams and Carolina:

–It’s not pressing as of today, but during the presentation to season ticket members, Blake also acknowledged that the team intends to sign Penn State junior defenseman Cole Hults, as LAKI previously reported. He’ll play one more season with the Nittany Lions before joining Ontario. For more comings and goings from the SOTF, including an addition to the team’s hockey analytics team, refer to my Twitter timeline. Otherwise, stick around for some Blake and McLellan notes in greater detail over the next 24 hours.

Juan Ocampo/NHLI

Juan Ocampo/NHLI

Juan Ocampo/NHLI

— Lead photo via Juan Ocampo/NHLI

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.