WiJust a couple of quick notes related to some odds and ends worth mentioning…
– Regarding the increased trade chatter of late, pump the breaks when it comes to the Kings. As we mentioned in detail here, the Kings are in no hurry to make a deal. In fact, the deal they are looking for (yes, that defenseman we’ve mentioned for several months), just isn’t out there at the moment. Recently, we’ve had to shut down several rumors, including the tweet below. Expect more of the same over the next five weeks or so.
As for the Justin Williams to Pitt for #Pens Paul Martin rumor, don’t believe it. Somebody trying to connect UFA dots. Not a match for LA.
— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) January 13, 2015
– In typical Dean Lombardi fashion, it appears the primary deal for a defenseman is likely going to be an off-the-radar move, like the Brayden McNabb trade last season. Again, because the experienced, right-handed, shut down defenseman they seek isn’t really available at the moment, word is, they’re trying to get creative. We’ll have more on this next month. Right now, everything is only in the preliminary stages and a deal is not imminent. Not even close.
– You may have noticed, mainstream media outlets are now starting to pick up the “AHL West” story. No, this isn’t really new news, as we first reported on the idea last March and have actually been chasing the story down for several years. What has become apparent is that the original report was pretty much spot on, as was the subsequent update (including the notes not only on the Kings, but the Ducks, Sharks, and Flames, as well). One interesting tidbit, though, reports are staring to circulate that the AHL is looking to shorten its schedule as part of the league reconfiguration. This ties in perfectly with what we had originally been told, which was several clubs felt the ideal AHL schedule would be about 60-65 games, leaving more time for development and teaching. Thus, it looks like many of the Western Conference teams are about to get pretty much everything they hoped for. Look for an official announcement of the AHL’s 2015-16 plans to come as early as next weekend, during All Star Game weekend.
– A decision on Jeff Schultz is going to be needed soon. Very soon, in fact. It comes down to a simple question – are the Kings willing to make a commitment on him being on the roster for the full remainder of the season right now? He cleared waivers at the beginning of the season (meaning no other NHL team picked him up) and he was sent to the AHL. Since his call-up in December, he has played seven games. There is a CBA provision that states after a player of Schultz’ status has accumulated 10 games or 30 days on a NHL roster, he would need to clear waivers again to be sent back to the AHL. Thus, look for the Kings to most likely send him down sometime in the next week (a transaction that would not require waivers). Then, if he gets called back up again, he would most likely be in Los Angeles for the remainder of the season at that point. Robyn Regehr is inching closer to a return. If that isn’t possible before the Kings needs to send Schultz down sometime in the coming days, that could open the door for a Kings defensive prospect to get called up and temporarily fill that roster spot, as discussed here.
– Given the Kings struggles in shootouts this year (where they are on a 0-19 run and have only scored twice in 25 attempts thus far), we were asked about Nick Shore yesterday. For whatever it’s worth, he had scored one goal in two attempts in the shootout this season in the AHL. Last year, he converted once on four attempts with the Monarchs.
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