The Kings are in the air, headed to Vegas, but a couple of roster moves from the sky to share with detail.
– The Kings have placed forward Trevor Moore on injured reserve with an upper-body injury
– The Kings have loaned defenseman Brandt Clarke to Barrie (OHL)
Moore has not skated since the team returned from holiday break. Todd McLellan indicated that Moore’s injury came during the game in Arizona on December 23, was known about coming out of that game and we have not seen the Thousand Oaks native at a practice or game since. This move isn’t necessarily any particular change in Moore’s status. McLellan indicated yesterday that Moore had resumed skating, but was not a candidate to play either yesterday against the Bruins or tomorrow against the Golden Knights. What this particular transaction means is that the Kings potentially open up a roster spot, should one be needed, by placing Moore on injured reserve. Per CapFriendly, the Kings have $857,852 in salary cap space as of this writing. That would not fit in every single player’s cap hit currently in the AHL, but it would fit in several of them, including recent recalls Samuel Fagemo and Jordan Spence. At this time, however, no corresponding roster move was made. The Kings have 13 forwards and seven defensemen on the roster, meaning they have an extra both up front and on the backend.
Moore joins teammate Arthur Kaliyev (lower-body injury) on injured reserve. Kaliyev blocked a shot in the win over Anaheim on December 20 and has been out of action ever since. Kaliyev did practice the day after, but was not able to play against the Calgary Flames two days later and was eventually placed on IR by the Kings. McLellan stated yesterday that both players will likely need a bit of practice time before they would be able to return and he’s already ruled them out for tomorrow’s game. The team is scheduled to practice on Sunday in El Segundo, so we’ll see if there is any change to the status of either player then.
With regards to Clarke, he concluded his participation at the 2023 World Junior Championships yesterday evening, as he helped lead Team Canada to a gold medal. Clarke collected two assists during the gold-medal game, including the secondary helper on the game-winning goal in overtime. Clarke finished the tournament with eight points (2-6-8) from seven games played, tied for third in points by a defenseman throughout the course of the tournament. He leaves with a gold medal around his neck after missing out on last season’s edition. Good on ya, Brandt.
After last night’s game, Kings Head Coach Todd McLellan was unclear on the immediate plans for Clarke, though he was hopeful that the young defenseman would get a bit of time to take in the moment and perhaps most importantly, relax.
“I don’t know what his schedule is like, but I hope that he gets some days right now just to relax and enjoy it,” McLellan said. “I’m sure it’s been really taxing, physically and certainly emotionally, on him..”
Now, with his destination sorted, Clarke will head back to the OHL, a league he was among the best players in a season ago. Clarke’s season has been a whirlwind. He played in three games during the Rookie Faceoff in San Jose, six of the Kings’ seven preseason exhibition games, nine NHL regular-season games, five AHL regular-season games, three pre-tournament exhibition contests with Team Canada and seven games during the World Juniors proper.
If you think about it a certain way, you could consider Barrie to be in some ways his fifth different team this season. Now, he’ll have stability and consistency to look forward to every day. Clarke will join a team that has performed strongly even in his absence, skating to a record of 18-9-6, good for second place in the OHL’s Central Division with a winning percentage of .636. If nothing else, perhaps this roster move finally gives Clarke something to settle into. He now knows he’s in the OHL for the remainder of the season and isn’t going to bed at night wondering what his status would be the next day. He’s joining one of the OHL’s top teams in pursuit of a long playoff run and hopefully an appearance at the Memorial Cup. Should Barrie be eliminated before the Kings or Reign are eliminated, Clarke would be eligible to return, though if he were to play again with the Kings, his entry-level contract would kick in. He would also be eligible to sign an ATO and play with the Reign come that situation, but we are miles down the road from that process unfolding.
For now, Barrie has 35 regular-season games remaining, though it’s unclear exactly when Clarke will begin to feature. The Colts play today and tomorrow but are then off until Thursday, January 12, which feels like a more viable date.
More to follow this evening, Insiders, pertaining to Clarke’s World Juniors, as well as the tournaments of prospects Kenny Connors and Otto Salin, in a recap of the event as a whole. Two medals were won by Kings players, with a full recap of their play and participation to follow.
As far as today’s Kings practice, the team did skate in El Segundo, but it was a short skate considering the travel to Vegas and the game last night. Back at it with day-to-day coverage from the road tomorrow, with a morning skate scheduled for T-Mobile Arena!