Sharing a roster move from yesterday afternoon, Insiders, but wanted to let the game preview lead the website going into Game 4.
A couple of hours before yesterday’s game, the Kings recalled defenseman Tobias Bjornfot and goaltender Cal Petersen from AHL-Ontario. Additionally, the Kings reassigned goaltender David Hrenak to the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits, where he had spent much of the 2022-23 season as the team’s starting goaltender. After Ontario’s season ended on Friday evening, several Kings prospects on NHL contracts saw their campaign come to an end, so it’s the season of roster additions. The NHL does not enforce a roster limit or a salary cap during the postseason, meaning the Kings can add as many of those players under contract as they so choose.
Todd McLellan on Recalls
The American League team was done and the experience that Cal has at the National Hockey League level makes sense as a goaltender and Toby’s played a large portion of games at this level, he’s played in that building and he knows the players who are in the series. Unfortunately, there were a couple of others down there, one due to injury, that we would have liked to have around our team, but they missed out on that opportunity.
For the roles they’re being added for, you really can’t ask for much more experience than Bjornfot and Petersen bring. Both players have appeared in more than 100 games in the NHL and both players are obviously familiar with the group. Bjornfot led the Kings in games played amongst defensemen last season and was a lineup regular throughout the bulk of the campaign, until the group got healthy come the postseason. Petersen’s story is obviously well told, but he began the year with this team and had been in the NHL since 2020, developing through the organization with many of the players currently on this Kings roster. It won’t be anything new for either player to be around the group and both understand the routine and the flow of how the Kings operate. That’s important and to add a pair of players with experience is always a good thing.
Now, that’s not to say the Kings necessarily expect either to play, but for the roles they’ll be filling, both are quite experienced. As of this writing, Bjornfot would be the team’s eighth defenseman and Petersen is the third goaltender. Bjornfot gives the Kings eight defensemen on the roster, meaning even pairings. The Kings had been rolling with seven as the Ontario Reign continued their postseason quest. The organization wanted Bjornfot to play in games and being a leadership figure with that group, it was important to have him in that setting as the Reign lost a pair of tightly-contested games. Now he’ll re-join the Kings and he should be comfortable in this setting, if he’s called upon. Petersen was Ontario’s starting goaltender for the bulk of the AHL season, after he was assigned to the AHL back in December. Petersen played 40 games with the Reign throughout the course of the season and though his overall statline was modest, his numbers were higher until the team closed the season with a 4-14-2 record in March and April. Nevertheless, he’s got a body of work that makes him more experienced than most number-three goalies in the postseason.
Black Aces are commonplace at this time of the season, but Bjornfot and Petersen feel a bit higher than that. Assume, at some point, we’ll see a larger group of younger players skate as a formal “Black Ace” group, especially should the Kings continue along in their postseason journey. The team really hasn’t practiced much at all, and will not do so today, but there are three days between Game 5 and Game 6 and that stretch will likely include two practice days. Black aces are a separate entity from the group, but it feels like Bjornfot and Petersen will be a part of the main group as opposed to more of a formal Black Ace.
Regarding Hrenak, he’ll re-join ECHL-Greenville during its own playoff run. The Swamp Rabbits split Games 1 and 2 of their best-of-seven series against the Jacksonville Icemen. Hrenak played in 43 games with Greenville this season and closed out playing his best hockey of the year but I don’t believe he is able to play in the postseason due to ECHL rules regarding roster submissions. A good experience for him, though, to be around the NHL group for the last four games.
Will have a Game 4 analysis story out in a couple of hours. Expecting to hear from Todd McLellan and a player or two this morning before we depart for Edmonton early this afternoon. The Kings will not practice today, following their third overtime game of four played. Would have been a very light skate if they did, but the team will meet and fly North. More to follow throughout the day as we prepare for a pivotal Game 5 in Edmonton!