Final rosters are due to the NHL offices later this afternoon, but they look to be OK for now. Yesterday the Kings sent Tyler Toffoli back to Manchester and placed Andrew Bodnarchuk on waivers, all but making official that this is the 23-man roster they’ll start the season with:
Forwards – Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, Kyle Clifford, Colin Fraser, Simon Gagne. Dwight King, Trevor Lewis, Jordan Nolan, Dustin Penner, Mike Richards, Brad Richardson, Anthony Stewart, Jarret Stoll, Justin Williams
Defensemen – Drew Doughty, Davis Drewiske, Matt Greene, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Rob Scuderi and Slava Voynov
Goaltenders – Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier
This of course assumes Kopitar will not be playing tomorrow, something that still hasn’t been decided as of this early morning (more on that here).
However, as soon as the Kings’ top center is ready to go, GM Dean Lombardi and coach Darryl Sutter will have a decision to make. Getting Kopitar back in the line-up will require one of the above listed forwards to come off the roster. Will Nolan go back to Manchester (he doesn’t require waivers, so perhaps that’s the easiest move) or will a player like Richardson or the newly acquired Stewart be put on waivers?
For his part, Richardson says he’s not worried about it right now.
“We have some extra guys and camp is supposed to be competitive,” said the 27-year old forward, who can play both wing and center. “Everybody has been working very hard and we’ll see what happens. (Management has) a lot of guys and a lot of good players that can be moved around. So we’ll see where it falls.”
Stewart, a big-body who can provide extra grit and size on the Kings’ third and fourth lines, seems to be a typical Lombardi and Sutter type player – and the opposite of the smaller, speedier Richardson.
“I don’t try to put pressure on myself really to be honest,” Richardson said. “I mean, he’s a good player; I’ve played against him since we were 16 years old. So, I know what he does and I’m just happy to have him. He’s a good guy and I’m looking forward to playing with him.”
As camp starts to wind down though, Richardson says he hasn’t been given any new information from the coaches about what they’d like to see out of him this season.
“We really haven’t sat down and had that chat yet. But I’m sure it will come very soon. It looks like right now I’ll be kind of filling in – but, you know, hopefully I can work myself into a spot where I can contribute. So we’ll see what happens.”
Until then, he’ll keep looking forward – especially to tomorrow, when the Kings will raise their Stanley Cup Championship banner.
“It’s been a long time coming and we’re excited for it,” remarked Richardson. “We’re also excited to move on and try to do something special again this year.”
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