Just after being named the AHL’s Rookie of the Month for December, defenseman Brandt Clarke was recalled by the Kings. With the Kings now returning home from their three-game road trip and heading into an extended break, the 21-year-old defenseman is being reassigned back to the Ontario Reign.
For how long, though, that’s the question.
He’ll be there at least for roughly a week. Like the Kings, their AHL team is a on a break right now. Clarke was leading all AHL defensemen in points at the time of his recall and was tied for second among all skaters. He’ll be headed to the league’s All-Star festivities this weekend in San Jose. Both the Skills Competition on Sunday and AHL All-Star Game on Monday can be seen on NHL Network TV.
While playing for the Reign, Clarke has amassed 32 points (7G, 25A) in 30 games this season. During his time with the Kings in January, LA’s 2021 first rounder suited up for six games and collected one assist.
Based on comments made by GM Rob Blake recently — and the fact the Kings have an open roster spot for a seventh defenseman — we expect Clarke to be recalled prior to the Kings next game, coming on Feb. 10 at home.
Blake on the organization’s plans for using younger players, like Brandt Clarke and Jordan Spence:
I think part of that call up [of Clarke] was related to cap space. We had the ability to carry an extra player on this road trip. Those two young players have been talked to daily by the coaching staff about the different rotations and the way it’s going. You want to expose them to everything that we had to on this trip. It’s important to get them into the NHL in different minutes and that. That will be the rotation going forward.
What About Turcotte and Fagemo?
Also being reassigned to AHL Ontario will be forwards Alex Turcotte and Sammy Fagemo. The former scored his first NHL goal on Wednesday night in Nashville. He was recalled to the Kings in the middle of their just completed road trip, playing in their final two stops. Turcotte had 7:48 minutes of ice time in his season debut on Monday night against the Blues, then saw his TOI increase to 10:02 for the Predators game.
In 28 games with the Reign this season, Turcotte has consistently been one of the team’s best players. Now in his fourth year as a pro, LA’s 2019 first rounder has already eclipsed his career highs in goals (7) and assists (16) in just 28 games played. Most nights he’s been used by coach Marco Sturm as a center, yet has seen occasional spot duty as a winger. Given the Kings current cap situation — and with forward Viktor Arvidsson set to return soon — it’s unclear when Turcotte will rejoin the Kings.
As for Fagemo, his situation has been well documented this season. With 20 goals in 24 games, he was challenging for the AHL lead in goals (while playing in far fewer games) prior to his recall to LA. What’s even more remarkable is the 23-year-old winger has only been held without a point in just five of the 24 games he’s played with the Reign.
In speaking with coach Marco Sturm [recently], he offered the following when asked if he was seeing a different player this season, compared to Fagemo last year:
“I think so, I really think so,” said the former NHL player, turned coach. “Since he’s come back, he’s been awesome. I really like [his play]. It’s not easy for him being back here either. He’s still hoping for a chance [at the NHL], but he’s definitely been a way bigger threat than he was last year.”
Fagemo believes the consistent results he’s experiencing this season are a direct byproduct of the work he put in during the offseason.
“I’m just having a lot of fun right now, and I think that’s really important,” he began. “I think that was my biggest thing to work on during the summer; to get more consistent and be mentally strong. I’m really happy that it’s been going good so far.”
In four games with the Kings this season, Fagemo has yet to record a point.
From what we’ve been able to gather, all three players will make their return to the Reign lineup for a pair of home games this weekend (Friday vs. Colorado, Sat. vs. Calgary) and then the situation will be
reassessed early next week. update available here
Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com