UPDATED: Kings Opening Night Roster Set – Notes on Key Decisions

With one preseason game remaining on the LA Kings schedule, here is where things stand with the team’s opening night roster:

Current Lineup

Iafallo-Kopitar-Brown
Kovalchuk-A.Kempe-Carter
Wagner-Lizotte-Toffoli
Clifford-Amadio-Lewis
Grundstrom-Prokhorkin-M. Kempe

Bjornfot-Doughty
Hutton-Martinez
Ryan-LaDue
MacDermid-Walker
Roy
Forbort

Quick
Campbell

This leaves 27 players on the current camp roster. They need to get to 23 by 5pm on Tuesday, October 1.

The first and easiest name to remove from the list is Forbort. He’ll start the season on Injured Reserve, and as pointed out on a recent Kings of the Podcast edition – we’re hearing this could be for an extended period of time.

Next, look for Mario Kempe to be placed on waivers soon, with the intention of sending him to AHL Ontario. Those two moves will get the number to 25.

Lizotte is expected to make the opening night roster. As one member of management told us this morning when discussing all of the bubble forwards – “Lizzote has been the better of them.”

10 Tidbits on Nikolai Prokhorkin – Finally Coming to America

Prokhorkin is perhaps the most interesting case at forward. As we’ve noted several times recently, expect a regular rotation of younger players coming up from the Reign during the first few months of the season. Quite frankly, there just aren’t enough open spots on the NHL roster currently. So where does this leave the talented Russian center? From what we’ve gathered, the final decision on him will likely come down to whether the Kings start the year with one or two extra forwards. It is certainly conceivable he starts in the AHL and is part of the initial rotation of players. One of the advantages to this strategy would be to see him play more minutes in Ontario, allowing management to get a true read on what he has to offer. The reports we’ve received on Prokhorkin have been fairly positive, as most feel he’s been good in playing limited time during camp. However, we wouldn’t expect his AHL stint to be long. If he can’t earn an NHL job fairly quickly, we still expect him to return to the KHL.

On defense, it’s looking more and more like Bjornfot could start the season with the Kings and play a few games (discussed here in greater detail). Beyond that, it’s still unclear.

We have also confirmed, MacDermid will not go on waivers. He will make the Kings opening night roster.

Thus, if Bjornfot and MacDermid stay on D, that would mean the Kings final decision would come down to carrying 7D/14F or 8D/13F to start the season. Essentially, two of these three players would need to go to the AHL under either scenario – Roy, Walker, Prokhorkin.

There is actually another option. The Kings could waive either LaDue or Ryan to create additional spots on defense for Roy and/or /Walker. We just don’t see this as a viable option at the moment because they’d be risking giving away LaDue/Ryan to another team for free, as those two have to pass through waivers before being assigned to AHL Ontario. Would either play get claimed? It’s possible. So, why take the risk of losing such an asset for free – especially when considering the alternative is to simply send Roy/Walker to the AHL without waivers (both players are exempt… for now). Would a send a message to other defenseman that nobody has a guaranteed spot? Absolutely. Would it be wasting an asset, even if the value in return was a sixth or seventh round draft pick? Of course. Thus, if there is a decision needing to be made about placing Ryan or LaDue on waivers, now just doesn’t seem like the right time. Save it for later in the season.

Unless, of course, they could work out a trade for one of those players before Monday.

Finally, in the ultimate swerve, you could even see the Kings open the year with only 22 roster players as a way to save a little extra cash. There’s a less than 50% chance this happens, but don’t be too surprised if that’s how things go down.

UPDATED 9/29/19 – Opening Night Roster

Iafallo-Kopitar-Brown
Kovalchuk-A.Kempe-Carter
Wagner-Lizotte-Toffoli
Clifford-Amadio-Lewis
Grundstrom

Bjornfot-Doughty
Hutton-Martinez
Ryan-Walker
MacDermid-Roy

Quick
Campbell

Here’s a bonus item…

Even before they get two more players, look at what type of roster the Reign already have heading into their season opener next Friday in Ontario:

Kupari – JAD – Rempal
Sodergran – Sutter – Luff
Eyssimont – Rymsha – M. Kempe
Bouma – Bergh – Frk
Imama
Morrison

Anderson – Durzi
Brickley – Clague
Reddekopp – Strand
Stanton – Phillips

Petersen
Villalta

(note: there are also a handful of other players in camp with the Reign on AHL only deals and PTOs)

For more detailed information and roster insight — especially how waivers will come into play with Roy and Walker — see the links below.

RELATED CONTENT:

Defensemen: Odds of Kings Prospects Making 2019-20 Roster

Forwards: Odds of Kings Prospects Making 2019-20 Roster

PHOTO: Debora Robinson / Robinson & Assoc.

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Comments

  1. Michael Welch says:

    The D-Corps is worth the price of admission (and the 90 minute drive) for a Reign game!