LA Kings Announce 2023 Season Opening Roster

The LA Kings have announced their season-opening roster.

The roster submitted by the team this afternoon is as follows –

Forwards (12) – Viktor Arvidsson, Quinton Byfield, Phillip Danault, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Kevin Fiala, Carl Grundstrom, Adrian Kempe, Anze Kopitar, Alex Laferriere, Trevor Lewis, Blake Lizotte, Trevor Moore

Defensemen (6) – Mikey Anderson, Tobias Bjornfot, Drew Doughty, Andreas Englund, Vladislav Gavrikov, Matt Roy

Goaltenders (3) – Pheonix Copley, David Rittich, Cam Talbot

I am already tired of typing these words, but this is today’s roster. It’s not yesterday’s roster and it’s not necessarily tomorrow’s roster or Wednesday’s roster. But it is today’s roster. We should expect maneuverability throughout these early goings. That could mean transactions on a more regular basis than we’re used to, as the Kings navigate a tight cap situation. The Kings don’t play a game until Wednesday evening and a lot could happen between now and then.

The group listed above consists of three goaltenders, which is how Todd McLellan has referenced his goaltending tandem throughout media availabilities over the last few days. It’s likely not sustainable for the Kings to carry three goaltenders all season, considering that they are already tighter to the salary cap than in seasons past. They also don’t want to lose any of their goaltenders to a waiver claim, as they have three individuals they believe are NHL caliber.

“By committee, as a group, three, solid, veteran-type players that have been in many different kinds of situations,” McLellan said. “Different forms of pressure, whether it’s Talbs and Rittich having played in Canadian markets here they’ve had success, or some opportunities where it didn’t go so well, or Copley finally cracking the league, carrying a team, having that pressure on him. We think we have the bases covered, but we believe we have goaltending by committee.”

So, for now, it’s three goaltenders and we press forward with that group for the time being.

Looking at the defensemen, for now, the Kings made the easiest move in front of them. Jordan Spence is waiver-exempt and was assigned to the AHL earlier today. As we saw this morning, the Kings won’t hesitate to recall a player who was previously sent down. The roster today is the roster today. Spence has had a solid training camp and has earned the opportunity to play NHL games this season. He will get that opportunity, even if he’s not on this particular iteration of the roster.

For those remaining, it leaves a third defensive pairing of Andreas Englund and Tobias Bjornfot. Two players who have played NHL games before and could be the third pairing on opening night. Despite a tough night on Saturday, Bjornfot still carries value for the Kings. He’s a first-round pick who has all the tools, even if they don’t come together as consistently as you’d like them too. There’s a player in there. Still, this is today’s roster.

Regarding the forwards, the season-opening roster has forward Arthur Kaliyev assigned to the AHL. Kaliyev is suspended for the first two games of the season. He is not on the NHL roster as of today, but that could always change. Kaliyev’s suspension will not be served while he’s in the AHL, but for the time being, he is waiver exempt and gets the Kings under the salary-cap ceiling.

Kaliyev’s suspension is just another variable in the process for the Kings. Todd McLellan touched on that earlier today –

“We are in a in a unique situation, and when I say we, I’m going to talk about the league as a whole, because there’s a lot of teams that are juggling rosters and cap constraints,” McLellan said. “We start the year with an individual suspended, so there’s another variable that comes into play in. Today and tomorrow are the big days with the final waivers, so there’s so many balls that are popping around right now, but we’re not surprised by it. We were informed and we’re aware and it can’t be an excuse for not being prepared to play when it’s time to play.”

A unique situation, indeed.

The Kings are on the ice tomorrow for practice and Wednesday for morning skate. We should expect additional clarity over the next 36 hours, between now and the game against Colorado. Simply put, this is an unconventional year for the Kings and unconventional years call for unconventional roster management. Stay vigilant and we’ll have all the info as it comes in here over the next couple of days.

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