Kings recall Durzi, assign Strand to Ontario + Doughty joins full group today

Good Morning, Insiders!

The LA Kings announced a pair of roster moves this morning, with Sean Durzi joining the big club and Austin Strand heading the other way to the AHL’s Ontario Reign.

Durzi currently ranks second in the AHL in points by a defenseman, and was the league’s active leader in defensive scoring at the time of his recall, as he’s tallied 13 points (5-8-13) from 12 games played. Durzi’s five goals are also tied for the league lead amongst defensemen and he’s the only blueliner with three goals on the man advantage. Ontario Head Coach John Wroblewski has positively commented on Durzi’s defensive improvements so far this season, a point of emphasis for him as he works on rounding out his overall game.

Strand appeared in two games for the Kings after he was recalled following Drew Doughty’s injury in Dallas. Strand linked up with the Kings in St. Louis and skated in games against the Blues and the Jets, averaging just over 16 minutes of time on ice. Prior to his recall, Strand tallied two points (1-1-2) from four games played in Ontario, including the game-winning goal on October 22 against Bakersfield.

Strand had not played since October 28, serving as a healthy scratch over the last nine Kings games. This move likely gives him the opportunity to play AHL games with Ontario on Sunday and Monday, with game action important especially early in the season. We’ll get a sense of Durzi’s place during today’s Kings skate today, but the “right-shot for right-shot” swap makes sense at the surface.

John Wroblewski on Durzi, 10/29
At 5-on-5 Durz was lights out. He made some strong defensive plays, he continues to move that puck and break plays down when it’s his turn and maybe the most important play of the night was before he scored when Abbotsford had a broken 2-on-1 where he might’ve gotten tripped up but there was no call on the play and he somehow got a stick on the puck before the Abbotsford player could get a breakaway. Lot of strong performances throughout and then a few really unique plays that ended up being pivotal for the victory.

Additionally, we’ve got a Drew Doughty sighting! Pierre LeBrun noted yesterday that Doughty could join the full group during practice today in a non-contact jersey, which he has done. Doughty is in red today, 29 days after he suffered a right-knee contusion in Dallas. The original timeline for Doughty to resume skating was six weeks, provided back in October, and he is just under two weeks ahead of schedule here. Still early in the process, but good signs for #8.

The Kings are scheduled to hit the ice an hour from now, in advance of tomorrow afternoon’s game against Carolina. More to come following practice!

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