No Mitchell, no Regehr – Where do the Kings turn on defense?

McNabb Brayden Monarchs AHL
Although the Kings are riding a five-game winning streak in the post-season, the last couple of victories have been costly ones for coach Darryl Sutter. Long known as one of the better defensive teams in the NHL, Los Angeles lost Willie Mitchell in Game 6 of the opening round vs. San Jose and then lost Robyn Regehr in Game 1 vs. the Ducks on Saturday night.

It’s the playoffs, so getting specific injury information out of professional hockey teams is more difficult than determining the winning lottery numbers or getting trade secrets out of Russian officials.

That said, Sutter has indicated that Mitchell likely won’t be available anytime soon. The veteran defenseman didn’t travel with the team for Game 1 – which is a telling sign. Further, Sutter didn’t sound optimistic that Mitchell would be ready soon when asked about his status after the Game 7 morning skate in San Jose on Wednesday.

As for Regehr, he was apparently injured during the first period of Game 1 in Anaheim on Saturday night. Teemu Selanne hit him with 10:34 remaining in the period and he never played again.

You may also recall, Regehr was banged up a bit in the final weeks of the regular season – although there’s no word if the latest injury is related to what was plaguing him last month. Of course, Mitchell missed all of last season with a knee injury that at one point was thought to possibly be career ending.

Where do the Kings turn from here? There are three possible answers, with only one as the most probable.

Jeff Schultz, a left shot who has 399 games of NHL experience with the Washington Capitals (2006-2013), and was signed by GM Dean Lombardi last summer (in part as an insurance policy against Mitchell not being able to return this year), is already with the club after spending most of the season playing significant minutes for the Manchester Monarchs. During his AHL stint he had 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) and a plus-10 rating in 67 games. The Calgary native is 28-years-old and stands 6-foot-6. He’s the prototypical Sutter player.

Now that the Monarchs have been eliminated from the playoffs, several of the Kings prospects are headed to Los Angeles to form a group of Black Aces. Among those on their way are defensemen Andrew Campbell and Brayden McNabb.

Campbell was originally drafted by the Kings in 2008 and made his NHL debut last month, suiting up for three games. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 206 lbs, Campbell was the Monarchs captain this year, playing in 69 games and recording 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) and a plus-16 rating.

McNabb (pictured above) was acquired by the Kings in a deal first reported by MayorsManor back in March. According to our sources, Lombardi and his staff had him rated as the best defenseman not in the NHL over the past two years. How bad did they want him? They were willing to trade two of their top 10 prospects to get him from the Buffalo Sabres.

For more on McNabb, read his MayorsManor interview here and get thoughts from Lombardi here, where he expands on his “He’s got size, he can move the puck, he’s got a long reach” comments. No doubt, McNabb will be in the line-up come opening night next season. That’s a given.

What about Monday though against the Ducks?

As much as Kings executives love McNabb, would Sutter trust the 23-year-old blueliner with only 37 games of NHL experience, to jump into the Kings rotation during the second round of the playoffs? From what we hear, that is at least being discussed. And with the Kings having a 1-0 lead in the series, maybe (MAYBE!) they would take the risk of playing him.

Keep in mind that Schultz at least has the experience of going through training camp with the Kings back in September and he’s participated in practices with Sutter during a few call-ups this season. McNabb is arriving in LA completely blind in that sense, having been in the Sabres organization since leaving junior hockey in 2011.

In the end, we expect Schultz to get the call for Game 2. He has the experience Sutter will most likely want to lean on.

Instagram

Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com

Recent Articles

REPLAY: Hoven on NHL Radio – Talking Vilardi, Brown, and Possible Trades To Make

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on NHL Radio, where he joined hosts Scott Laughlin and Steve Kouleas to look at next season’s LA Kings line combinations, Tanner Pearson’s future, rookie Gabe Vilardi, forward Iyla Kovalchuk, Dustin Brown;s resurgence, a possible trade for Max Pacioretty, the Pacific Division favorite, and much more.
NOTE: […]

PHOTO GALLERY: LA Kings 2018 Draft Picks at Dev Camp

As the annual tradition goes, dozens of the Kings top prospects descended upon SoCal last week for an up close look at the team’s training facility, as well some hands on tutoring and evaluation with their extended coaching staff. It’s all part of Development Camp, which sets the tone for summer workouts and early expectations […]

REPLAY: Hoven on TSN Radio – Talking NHL Free Agency, Kings, VGK, and More

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on TSN Radio, where he joined host Kevin Olszewski to take a look at NHL Free Agency, the Kings signing forward Iyla Kovalchuk, what Drew Doughty’s new contract means, other moves LA GM Rob Blake might look to make, what happens next with the Vegas Golden Knights, […]

Major News Items

LA Kings 2018 Mid-Season Top 10 Prospect Rankings: The Top Two

It all comes down to this. After an extensive journey through the LA Kings current prospect pool, we've finally arrived at the top two players in the rankings - including this year's highly coveted No. 1 spot. … [Read More...]

More Prospect News

Comments

  1. Are McNabb and Campbell the only two D joining Schultz?

  2. Thomas says:

    Bodnarchuk called up as well. Led the AHL in plus/minus, what about him getting a shot?

  3. John, get Andy to pen a mini-rating on the D corps. Who the puck movers, who the tree trunks stay at homes etc. lots of D up in Manchester. Educate the kingdom.

Trackbacks

  1. […] noted in a MayorsManor article over the weekend, after playing for the Manchester Monarchs this season, Jeff Schultz will step into the Kings […]