It didn’t take long for rookie Alex Laferriere to make an impression in his NHL debut.
Starting on a line with PL Dubois and Kevin Fiala, the 21-year-old right wing logged over 16 minutes of ice time and took four shots on goal. Just like he had done throughout Development Camp, the Rookie Faceoff tournament, training camp, and the pre-season, Laferriere was noticeable on nearly every shift; constantly involved in the action.
By playing in the game, he became the second member of the team’s 2020 NHL Draft class to join the lineup, joining Quinton Byfield (who was playing in his 100th NHL game). Laferriere also became just the second Harvard alumnus to play for the Kings, joining Ted Donato (who played only two games in the 2001-02 season).
“I thought he had a tremendous night,” coach Todd McLellan said of his young forward. “He looked like he’s played in the league for a long time. That’s pretty exciting for our organization and for him. He fit two offensive players very well, had real good instincts — both offensively and defensively. We had zero hesitation about putting him on the ice.”
Oh, and this happened:
The fight was a byproduct of what was going on,” explained McLellan. “The fight itself was a scrum. We all got involved, we took care of each other and sometimes in those situations; there’s a pair that comes out of it swinging and he happened to be the one doing it. He handled himself very well and it did give us some energy.”
Even prior to McLellan saying he will be “pounding on somebody’s desk tomorrow” to keep Laferriere up in the NHL, it was already assumed he’d at least play again on Saturday vs. Carolina, given the Kings salary cap situation and Arthur Kaliyev still serving a suspension.
There may be a few paper transactions over the next 72 hours, yet we’re expecting Laferriere to be in the lineup come Saturday night.
Even so, the overall narrative still featured an additional twist.
Exploring LTIR for Arvidsson
“Arvy’s not going to be back for a little while, so I’ll break that news to you,” McLellan added when asked about Viktor Arvidsson’s status.
He later clarified that Arvidsson will not practice this week or play on Saturday. So, how long will he be out?
If in fact it’s a couple weeks, Long Term Injured Reserve becomes an option that would be very attractive for McLellan and GM Rob Blake.
Due to cap constraints, the team had to play with just 11 forwards on opening night. In doing so, they can now use an Emergency Recall to pull up Jaret Anderson-Dolan for Saturday (explained in detail here).
However, should Arvidsson go on LTIR, it opens a whole new range of possibilities — not just regarding which forward comes up from AHL Ontario to round out the roster this weekend, but really the entire bigger picture.
LTIR would free up around $4M in cap space for Blake to work woth.
Essentially, if they put Arvidsson on LTIR they are allowed to go over the salary cap by the amount calculated as his AAV ($4.25M) less the amount of cap space they had remaining at the time of the transaction. The Kings had less than $200k in cap space available on opening night, hence the around $4M that would be freed up by such a move.
With the extra cap dollars available, they could not only call up any forward for Saturday, they could also recall Jordan Spence for help on the blueline.
What would all of this mean for Arvidsson?
He’d have to be sidelined for at least 10 games and 24 days. His injury must also be approved by the league as something that qualifies for LTIR. Teams cannot simply circumvent the cap.
Much more to come on this over the next 24 hours.
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