Blake discusses Jokinen/Cammalleri swap, Gaborik, Kempe, Carter, Iafallo - LA Kings Insider

Several additional notes to pass along on the Michael Cammalleri-Jussi Jokinen swap, as well as Marian Gaborik’s impending availability, as shared by Rob Blake during first intermission media availability. (Stick tap to LAKI Associate Jessi McDonald for the audio transcript while I had radio duties.)

-First, Cammalleri. He wasn’t particularly happy with his role on the team and where exactly his usage was trending. “I don’t think he enjoyed the role that he was in by any means,” Blake said. “I’ve had conversations the last couple of days. … I won’t tell you a lot about our conversation, but what I’ll tell you is we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t going the direction that he wanted it to, and what we’re looking for is … stability in that bottom of the lineup.” Blake declined to answer as to whether Cammalleri had asked for a trade, but said, “…this wasn’t a direction he’d seen him going in and both of us felt we could do something about that.”

-Part of that is because of the emergence of Alex Iafallo. As noted, Cammalleri was brought in to skate with other players whose abilities would mesh well with his offensively inclined skill set, and with Iafallo’s near-seamless fit alongside Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, there were different circumstances in October and November than those that had been expected in July. “Well it made Cammy pushed down the lineup, for sure,” Blake said. “I think Alex has been terrific out there. I think he does a really good complement with Kopitar and Brown and we ultimately had Pearson on the second line and pushed Cammalleri’s minutes probably down at regular strength.”

-The trade materialized quickly over the last several days, and Blake likes Jokinen’s ability to play different forward positions and the potential to add structure to the bottom half of the lineup. “I think Jokinen is a very versatile player. Different positions throughout the lineup,” he said. Jokinen hadn’t earned vast special teams time in Edmonton, and may have lost a step when compared to earlier stages of his career, but “he gives you power play and he gives you a little more skill option” in addition to “a stability option, a versatile option,” as Blake said. The team is looking for additional stability in the bottom six. “I think if you take a look, we went through Auger, Brodzinski, Amadio, Crescenzi,” Blake said. “Cammalleri was in and out of the lineup. Brooks Laich has been in and out of the lineup. So, looking for stability somewhere in that lineup? Yes, we are.”

-While there is no exact science on a timetable for Marian Gaborik’s return, it’s beginning to take shape. “Gabby has taken the last couple days full practice and he’s well on his way,” Blake said. “You know, projection, I don’t know the exact time frame. Within a couple weeks. I think we have that trip there, late November, early December we would like to target. We haven’t picked a target date yet, but he’s tracking in that direction.”

-Meanwhile, Jeff Carter isn’t walking through those doors anytime soon, and there isn’t a large enough sample size to get a sense of where exactly the team is at in his absence. “No, and unfortunately, we’re going to have a large sample size by the end of it, by the time he’s coming back,” Blake said. “I don’t think you can replace that. What Kempe has been able to do is the speed element. He can bring that, which is a similar level to Jeff’s and we’ve been fortunate. I know you mentioned Iafallo earlier, but you put Kempe there. We’ve had two kids come in and solidify NHL roles for us. And so it does kind of change the makeup of your team that you probably are looking at two months ago.” Kempe has provided a tremendous presence at the center of the lineup, which does present some challenges, because he’s more of a natural winger who was never regularly entrusted with faceoffs. “We put him at center in the American League, but there were a lot of games where he would finish the wing, and so he’s got to understand the faceoff purpose of that,” Blake said. “You know, you saw in the [first] period here, they pulled him off for Crescenzi for a D-zone draw. You’ll see protection like that, but the other defensive part of it, I don’t. You know typically the Swedes come with a good background in that, and what he’s able to do is make up a lot with his speed and his stick. He’s a smart player.”

-Lead photo via Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

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.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

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.