Kings defenseman Alec Martinez returned to the line-up last night after missing the previous 10 games with an ‘upper body’ injury – ironically, suffered in game vs. the Minnesota Wild last month.
With Martinez on IR, the Kings needed to make a roster move to get him back into the line-up. And the strong play of Slava Voynov suggests he isn’t going anywhere. However, the expected waiving of Davis Drewiske will have to wait at least until the weekend because the Kings were able to place Willie Mitchell on IR (retroactive back to December 1, meaning he can come off tomorrow).
Again, for those curious about the roster process – essentially, to get Mitchell or Mike Richards back in the line-up, the Kings will need to make one roster move for each player. They can send Voynov, Andrei Loktionov or Kyle Clifford to the AHL without exposing them to waivers. Any other player on the Kings roster would have to be placed on waivers first, giving the other 29 teams a chance to take the player being waived. If such player goes unclaimed, he can then be assigned to Manchester. Thus, it’s a slippery slope right now.
That decision can wait at least one more day though.
Back to Martinez. He had 17:28 of total ice time and recorded one shot last night. Here’s what coach Terry Murray had to say when asked for an evaluation of the young defenseman’s return to action…
“I thought Martinez played good,” said Murray. “He had a couple of turnovers there, but that was (him) trying to get back into the game. In the third period, he found their center iceman high in the slot, for a scoring chance against. But, he’s trying to make something happen. He wants to get up the ice. He wants to break the puck out quickly. I think, overall, his mentality and his contribution was good.”
With Voynov playing his way into the Kings line-up, Martinez will need to contribute offensively if he plans on pushing for minutes once Mitchell returns. Martinez has two goals in 17 games played this year, which has him on pace for about the same production as last year (five goals). However, his zero assists are a little concerning.
More postgame quotes can be found here…or, for more roster talk, please see the related articles linked below.