Good morning from Toyota Sports Center, where the Kings have finished practice and team meetings and are getting ready to load up the plane for an afternoon flight to San Jose. There were no changes to the forward lines from yesterday’s practice, though defenseman Kevin Gravel was not present at the skate and could be among those awaiting an official transaction to Ontario, similar to Paul LaDue, Adrian Kempe, Michael Mersch and Kurtis MacDermid, who weren’t on the ice yesterday.
With that said, it’s a safe bet the 23-man roster will open as:
Goalies (2): Quick, Zatkoff
Defensemen (7): Greene, McNabb, Muzzin, Doughty, Gilbert, Forbort, Martinez
Forwards (14): Purcell, Setoguchi, Kopitar, Clifford, Andreoff, Shore, Lewis, Brown, Dowd, Pearson, Nolan, Toffoli, King, Carter
There’s no word yet at this point on any assignment for Rob Scuderi, who cleared waivers along with Michael Latta. Marian Gaborik has already been placed on injured reserve. Per Darryl Sutter earlier today, Nick Shore (undisclosed, but requiring “protocol”) is “clear” and available for selection. “Could’ve come to Vegas and practiced, but we opted to give him the extra day,” he said.
-Nic Dowd has changed his number to 26, a number he has worn – apart from 67, which was his number assigned by the Kings – since it was assigned to him at NAHL-Wenatchee in advance of the 2008-09 season. “As a new guy, I didn’t say anything,” he said of being assigned the number eight years ago. “I just stuck with it, had a good year, and then kept it in college, and everywhere I’ve gone I’ve been fortunate enough that number has been open.” YES, we all know why 26 had been open with the Kings. As for Dowd’s play, I asked Sutter what he’ll have to do to earn additional ice time and rise up as a rookie in the coaches’ graces. “He’s a centerman, so if there are four centermen ahead of him, then take one of them out,” answered Sutter, who also noted that he’d “seen some improvement” in his play without the puck and getting up and down the center of the ice.
-Derek Forbort appears set to make the team out of camp. “I think I showcased what I can do, which is just being a strong defensive defenseman and making good plays with the puck and just being consistent with my game,” he said of his preseason. Quotes from Dowd and Forbort, both of whom would have had to clear waivers for any hypothetical assignment to the AHL, to follow. I’ll also have a story up on Jake Muzzin and Drew Doughty, who appear set to play alongside each other to start the year.
Thanks as always for reading! More to come throughout the day, Insiders.