Ellerby inching closer to securing roster spot with Kings

Following about an hour of action on the ice Thursday, Kings coach Darryl Sutter had some praise for defenseman Keaton Ellerby, including saying this when asked about how the competition on the blue line is shaping up:

“Keaton’s had a great camp. Very, very good. And I think Jeff [Schultz] has been a guy that’s had to adjust to how we play. I said it before, it’s not easy for a player to come from the east to the west, first off. Then, to adjust, there’s big adjustments between teams – not just in getting to know players, but big adjustments in terms of style of play, in terms of responsibilities in certain parts of the game where we expect… Keaton has been a guy, though, that quietly – even last year – he can play left side and right side, and he’s an important guy. I think it’s probably been on record where we’ve said how many guys we’re going to need. Obviously we can’t play them all, but at the same time they’re important players on our team.”

About twenty minutes earlier, Ellerby had shared the following comments with MayorsManor…

On how he’s feeling now that camp is winding down:

“Good. I feel good. Just another camp, working hard, trying to get better and do what the coaches are asking me to do.”

On how he puts the competition out of his mind, especially when people keep asking him about it:

“[Laughter] Yes, well that makes it tough. You’re always battling for a spot. It’s always something that’s going to be happening. You just have to work hard, do what the coaches want you to do and get better everyday. We’re teammates in here. We’re all trying to get the same thing accomplished. Whoever is in the line-up and is doing a good job at that time…then you’re supportive and when you get the opportunity, you’ve got to make the most of it. There are no hard feelings between teammates. We do what we’ve got to do to win, no matter what. Just keep working hard and when you do get a chance to play, you’ve got to make the most of it and do your best.”

On the feedback he received at the last meeting before summer:

“It was good. It was all good. They were happy to have gotten to work with me last year. They said they would like to have [had] me a couple years ago, to get a little more development and build my game earlier. It was good. Just go home, get stronger. Keep getting bigger. Come conditioned and ready to go for next year. I think I did that. Like you said, there are eight or nine guys on one-way deals. It’s a tough line-up to crack, but I’ve been doing my best. I think I’ve played well so far. I have to keep working at it.”

On the confusion about his contract deadline:

[Laughs] “I was actually over in Slovenia at Anze Kopitar’s wedding. The time change was nine hours or something ridiculous like that. My agent was calling me to just get it done. We got it done and it was good, but there were communication struggles for a bit.”

Given Sutter’s preference for height, on whether his size gives him any advantage:

“Maybe. I think it’s ‘the best player plays.’ Size may have something to do with it, throwing the big body around, being a physical defenseman. Big body getting in front of pucks, blocking shots, that kind of thing. [Chuckles] Hopefully, it has some effect on it. I have to just keep playing my game, just keep doing what I’m doing—play hard, work hard, on and off the ice. Whatever happens, happens.”

On the reality that he may not make it past the next round of cuts:

‘I’d be disappointed. I love the group here. I love the team. Great coaching staff. Great management. It’s the best place to play in the league. It would be disappointing.”

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