Sutter explains the future for rookies Nolan and King in LA

Dwight King (photo: Ikiri)

On Friday, February 10 the Kings made a few roster moves, allowing them to call up Jordan Nolan and Dwight King from Manchester (AHL).

Monarchs Director of Hockey Operations Hubie McDonough notified King first and gave him an assignment – please tell Nolan that he’s going with you to New York to play the Islanders. Now, that’s not normally how things are done, but it was warranted due to a tight schedule. After all, a car was coming to get them and they needed to pack.

Although athletes are known to prank each other, King says he played it straight when informing his roommate he was about to make his NHL debut.

“It’s a little different, I guess, for your first time call-up,” King explained. “But, I’m pretty nice. You don’t want to spoil a moment that like that. So, I just told him the basics.”

A six-game call-up last year did little to help prepare King for what he was about to get himself into. For starters, he was thrust onto a line with Mike Richards – who wasn’t even with the team last season. And Darryl Sutter was behind the bench, not Terry Murray.

“I met him, or ran into him in the hallway and shook his hand,” said King, when describing his brief encounter with Sutter a few weeks prior in Manchester (the coach went back to observe two games during the NHL All-Star break). “One of his brothers, Rich, was the assistant coach on my junior team in Lethbridge.  He didn’t really know me though.  So, that was the extent of our little chat.”

Since then, King has played nine games for Sutter in LA and scored a pair of goals.

With the arrival of Jeff Carter, Nolan and King have been split up – with Nolan dropping down to the fourth line, while King has remained with Richards.

After practice today, I asked Sutter if he’s getting all he needs from the two rookies…

“I think we have them more in the roles we want them to be in going forward. That’s probably the main thing. Then, we have to get them to thrive in that role. That’s not something that’s going to happen Saturday. They’re kids, right? You have to work with them and they have to understand it. Then, they’ll get better for it. They both have a long ways to go, in terms of their training, their maturity and the lifestyle. That’s probably the biggest thing.”

As for the plans going forward…

“They’re here for the rest of the season,” said Sutter. “We’re really comfortable with that.”

Looks like Jake Muzzin is going to be awfully lonely back in Manchester. He was sharing a place with Nolan and King.

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