Based on conversations with Dean Lombardi and Terry Murray, it seems as though Marc-Andre Cliche is basically being given a week-long tryout at practice, to see if he can earn a roster spot with the Kings. Based on the answers below, it seems like what Murray would like to do is have Cliche as his fourth-line center and move Oscar Moller to wing, either on the fourth line or a higher line. You might remember that the Kings’ recent plan was to have Moller on the wing, but he got pressed into duty as a center. Here’s what Murray said today about the whole situation…
Question: There seems to be an open mind in terms of whether to keep Cliche. Do you have any thoughts on how that might shake out?
MURRAY: “This is an opportunity for him to show us where he’s at in his game. I think what I’ve seen so far is good. He seems to be more comfortable, more relaxed, more confident in how he’s dealing with being with the NHL team, as opposed to where he was in the training camp. Although he caught my eye then, as a pretty responsible player, he’s much more comfortable right now. So we’ll just keep watching. We’ll have a scrimmage tomorrow and see how that shakes out. When it gets down to lineup time, we’ll have him around to make a decision, at least.”
Question: You had recently talked about Oscar Moller playing center basically out of necessity. If this were to work out a certain way, with Cliche playing center, would that solve the problem there? Is that part of the thought process?
MURRAY: “It is part of the thought process, and that’s where Cliche would fit. That position is actually the perfect position for him, to play some minutes but also to have a fourth-line player who can contribute on special teams, penalty killing in particular. I think that would be real good for our hockey club, to give some of the top guys, who are playing a lot of minutes, some relief and take away some of that penalty-killing time. So we’ll see how it goes. Again, it’s a good opportunity for him. It’s not just a call-up for the sake of filling in and taking a position in practice here. It’s an opportunity for him to show us something.”