The boys are back!
The LA Kings announced this morning that defensemen Kurtis MacDermid and Sean Walker, as well as goaltender Cal Petersen, have been activated to the active roster. All three players were deemed as “unfit to play” on January 9 and began the season with an “injury/non-roster” designation. The NHL announced on Wednesday that the trio of Kings players were “unavailable to the club due to COVID protocols”.
All three took the ice this morning at Toyota Sports Performance Center, as a part of an optional morning skate.
The Kings had one open spot on the active roster already, so two players needed to be assigned elsewhere to add in the above-mentioned trio. In preparation, the Kings placed defenseman Mark Alt and goaltender Troy Grosenick on waivers yesterday morning. Alt cleared this morning, however Grosenick was claimed by the Edmonton Oilers.
Alt skated 11:32 on the third-defensive pairing in Thursday’s regular-season opener, alongside Kale Clague. The 6-4 blueliner had two shots on goal and two penalty minutes.
Grosenick was dressed on Thursday as well but did not play as the backup goaltender behind Jonathan Quick. The veteran netminder fills a void in Edmonton, after the Oilers lost goaltender Anton Forsberg via waivers to Carolina four days earlier. In between, Forsberg was claimed again, by Winnipeg! The goalie carousel is in full swirl this week.
In corresponding moves, the Kings also announced today that Alt was assigned to the taxi squad, along with defenseman Tobias Bjornfot while goaltender Jacob Ingham was reassigned from the AHL’s Ontario Reign to the taxi squad. Additionally, defenseman Austin Strand and goaltender Matthew Villalta were re-assigned from the taxi squad to the Reign.
The addition of Walker and MacDermid on the backend potentially provides a full pairing to the Kings. The two skated together during training camp, until they were ruled out seven days ago, and also saw time together last season, as well as in the AHL with the Ontario Reign in the 2018-19 season. Per Todd McLellan, expect both to play tonight assuming all systems go after morning skate. Petersen’s addition reunites the expected goaltending tandem of he and Quick.
As noted, the Kings had an optional morning skate today in El Segundo, meaning we won’t know official lines and pairings until closer to puck drop, however McLellan alluded that the forward lines could remain the same as Thursday, barring no “bumps and bruises” in today’s skate. For reference, yesterday’s combinations are available here. The majority of the team was on the ice this morning, with the exception of a few veteran players who did not skate.
Ontario, meanwhile, has departed for Irvine to take on the San Diego Gulls in their preseason opener. Updates of that game can be found via the Reign on Twitter, with puck drop set for 1 PM from Great Park Ice in Irvine, CA. Both Villalta and Strand are expected to play for the Reign this afternoon.
More to come, it’s Game Day!