Happy Sunday, Insiders!
A few roster moves here to begin our day, with the Kings set to depart for Calgary this afternoon and the Ontario Reign set for a 3 PM tilt on home ice against the San Diego Gulls. Three players have changed hands this morning, with defenseman Jacob Moverare and forward Lias Andersson recalled from AHL-Ontario and expected to join the Kings to begin a four-game roadtrip. Additionally, forward Brendan Lemieux has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury, while defenseman Brandt Clarke has been assigned to the Reign on a conditioning loan, and is eligible to play with Ontario against the Gulls later on today.
Joining the Kings are a pair of Swedes who were both part of the NHL squad at times last season.
Andersson, 24, has started off the season at the AHL level, logging first-line minutes with Ontario alongside reigning AHL MVP T.J. Tynan. Andersson has tallied nine points (5-4-9) from 11 games played with the Reign, skating as a part of the team’s top power-play unit as well. Andersson has had his ups and downs with the Kings since he was acquired from New York during the 2020 NHL Draft, amassing eight points (4-4-8) from 43 games with the big club. At his best, Andersson is an aggressive forechecker with the ability to play with both energy and skill. Looking back to last season’s training camp, Andersson was perhaps the team’s best forechecker, embodying the aggressive style of play the Kings were seeking to implement. He’s also one of the organization’s best players in the shootout and scored a huge goal last season in Calgary to help secure an extra point on the road. Andersson is versatile, with the ability to play both wing and center, making him an ideal option to come up as a potential 13th forward.
The move with Andersson ties into Brendan Lemieux’s situation, with the winger placed on injured reserve this morning with a lower-body injury. Lemieux did not return for the third period during yesterday’s game against Detroit, with forward Todd McLellan indicating that the early report says he could be out for a “little while”. Lemieux has carved out a role as an effective, fourth-line winger alongside Blake Lizotte and a rotating cast of third linemates. His physical presence and willingness to stand up for teammates has helped his cause. In his absence, it could provide an opportunity for Jaret Anderson-Dolan to potentially see some game action. The 23-year-old has done everything you could ask for over the last few weeks despite not seeing a game, with McLellan going out of his way to praise his work ethic while not playing. Anderson-Dolan is responsible and hard-working, with the ability to play both center and wing. The kind of player you can check into a bottom-six role and hope he can keep the momentum rolling without much issue.
Moverare, 24, has earned his second NHL recall of the season. Moverare was recalled from the AHL after Alex Edler took a puck to the face during warmups in Detroit and was a healthy scratch in games against Nashville, Pittsburgh and Washington before he was returned to the AHL once Edler was ready to roll. Moverare has two points (0-2-2) from eight AHL games, but he’s not a player who you judge by points. Moverare’s game is based around steady, defensive play, taking care of his own end first and using his size to break up plays with his body and stick. Far from the flashiest player in the NHL, but a player you can feel confident in checking into a third-pairing role as the situation dictates.
Regarding Clarke, the 19-year-old defenseman has not played in each of the last five games for the Kings, as the team has put together a 4-0-1 run without any changes to the lineup during that span. The blueliner has collected two points (0-2-2) from nine games played with the Kings and is expected to join the Ontario Reign this afternoon for an opportunity to get into some game action. The conditioning loan is able to last a maximum of 14 days, with the clock beginning this afternoon. Ontario plays a total of six games during that span and we’ll see how the organization plans to utilize Clarke at the AHL level during that time. As always, important to remember that these situations are fluid and what the “plan” might be today can change tomorrow. Expect Clarke to be utilized in a prominent role with the Reign with an opportunity to log more minutes than he did when skating in the NHL. The Reign are in action today against the Gulls and then we’ll go from there. Want to see the organization’s last four first-round picks in action? Clarke, Quinton Byfield, Alex Turcotte and Tobias Bjornfot could all suit up in Ontario later on this afternoon.
Coming up later on today, Jared Shafran will have post-game reactions from said Ontario/San Diego game and we’ll also have an analysis on the recent four-game homestand that saw perfection as it pertains to the record from a team in search of an unattainable perfection through their play. Off to Calgary!