It’s not that uncommon for professional sports teams to see a handful of new player and jersey number combinations each offseason. Yet, over the last 12 months, the Kings have seen a dizzying amount of movement.
Heading into the abbreviated 2021 season, there were a series of moves more complicated than a game of twister, with the centerpiece of it all being Arthur Kaliyev finally getting access to jersey No. 34 — something he had been lobbying for in the months prior.
When Kale Clague gave up 34 to move into 58, it was hoped that was just temporary, as the versatile defenseman had remained hopeful of eventually landing No. 10 — a number that wasn’t available to him at the time because it was occupied by Michael Amadio. That isn’t a problem anymore, so we’ll see what Clague shows up to camp wearing next month.
In the meantime, we can confirm a series of changes that have already been approved:
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— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) August 6, 2021
This number was not worn by any Kings player last season and was most recently associated with Matt Greene from 2009-17. Although 26 other players have previously worn this number in LA, none of them have kept it for more than just a few seasons. That list includes Alex Zhitnik (pictured above), Brian Benning, Terry Harper, and Bob Wall (the first-ever LA Kings captain in 1967). For this coming season, defenseman Alex Edler will wear No. 2. He played over 1,000 games for the Vancouver Canucks, all in No. 23, something that wasn’t available to him in LA. He spoke about the number switch in an all new Kings Of The Podcast posted earlier today.
Young defenseman Toby Bjornfot is making the switch to No. 7 after his previous 33 is now being taken over by Viktor Arvidsson. Bjornfot has seen a series of numbers during his brief time in the organization, including No. 54 (during his first training camp) and No. 33. From what we hear, this number may not stick. He’ll start camp with it and then we’ll see where things go. For the record, he’s worn No. 7 before (as well as No. 3) when playing in international tournaments for Sweden.
Christian Wolanin has given up this number. We believe it will be going to newly signed Russian forward Vladimir Tkachyov.
Sorry, Lias Andersson, No. 24 hardly knew you.
In landing unrestricted free agent forward Phillip Danault, the 6-foot-4 center has laid claim to 24. We’re still waiting to hear if he called Colin Fraser for approval.
As Viktor Arvidsson shared during his recent visit to Kings Of The Podcast, he will be sporting his familiar No. 33 when he suits up for the LA Kings next month. Bjornfot had been wearing No. 33, however it was perhaps made most famous in LA on the backs of Marty McSorley, Ziggy Palffy, and Willie Mitchell — with the latter talking about its magical powers on a recent Kings Of The Podcast episode.
Christian Wolanin broke into the league wearing No. 86 with the Ottawa Senators. Since that time, he’s worn a few different numbers in the NHL, including 24 before being traded to Los Angeles and getting No. 21. From what we heard, he was trying to find his way back to 24 in LA, but that just wasn’t in the cards. While playing for Team USA at the recent IIHF World Championships, he went back to his old school No. 86 and he’ll be doing the same when training camp opens up next month — believing the number was good to him in both of those previous situations. If he gets into NHL games with the Kings, he would be the first player in franchise history to officially wear No. 86 for the Kings.
Numbers in the 80s are pretty rare in LA. Three players have worn No. 81, including Matt Roy most recently. There has also been one player each to wear Nos. 82, 85, 88, and 89. Can you name them?
On a related note, Akil Thomas wore number 86 during previous Rookie Camps, so look for him to switch over to No. 41, as well.
As the merry-go-round prepares to come to a full stop, Lias Andersson remains on the clock.
Perhaps he’ll go to No. 15 or 25. We’ll update this article when more information becomes available.
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