The reinforcements have arrived
The LA Kings recalled defenseman Tobias Bjornfot and forwards Alex Turcotte, and Samuel Fagemo from the Ontario Reign earlier this week after it was announced that Gabe Vilardi and Carl Grundstrom would miss some time with injuries. Vilardi was classified as day-to-day, and Grundstrom was listed as week-to-week. Grundstrom now joins both Trevor Moore and Arthur Kaliyev on the IR. Both Moore and Kaliyev have also already missed close to a month with their own injuries.
The players that are missing time have, so far, been huge producers for the Kings this season. Gabe Vilardi is second on the Kings in goals with 17, Trevor Moore has a great all-around game, and Arthur Kaliyev was LA’s main power-play producer before he was injured.
While Vilardi’s injury seems less serious, the other players mentioned have been out more long-term only adding to the challenges on both ends of the ice.
Out of the three players called up, Tobias Bjornfot has the most NHL games played throughout the start of his career, however, he has only played in four games this year for the Kings.
Alex Turcotte, the former fifth-overall pick, also has limited experience with the Kings, only playing in a total of eight NHL games during his time with the organization. Samuel Fagemo, who was inserted into the line-up on Thursday against Dallas, has only racked up a total of eight NHL contests in his career.
Despite their lack of NHL playing time, with back-to-back games, it wouldn’t be a shock to see all three of these players in a game at some point this weekend. And they, both individually and collectively, will need to take advantage of the opportunity given to them.
Head Coach Todd McLellan recently spoke about line-up changes on a game-to-game basis, “When we go on the trip, it’s not efficient, but we can flip players in and out, that’s not a big deal. We have two back-to-backs, which lead into two, two-day breaks after those games, so bringing a player to and from LA, or wherever the Ontario Reign are playing, it’s not a big deal on those days off in between.”
While it appears we will see some fluidity in line-up decisions for the upcoming road trip, the LA Kings will realistically still need to rely on less experienced players to produce and help the team win.
These youngsters are not the only ones being thrust into positions they are not used to. Jaret Anderson-Dolan was seen playing on the first power-play unit on Thursday, and Rasmus Kupari and Quinton Byfield will also likely see more ice time to play in situations they haven’t before at the NHL level.
With injuries mounting for LA, and the Pacific Division beginning to get tighter, the younger, less experienced Kings will have to seize this moment. Not only to prove they are ready for the NHL, but also to help keep the team at the forefront of the playoff picture in the days, and potentially, weeks ahead.
Featured Image Credit: (LA Kings Insider)