Kings News & Rumors: Trevor Moore, Defensive Injuries & More

In this edition of Los Angeles Kings News & Rumors, I’ll be discussing the Kings losing two more defensemen, who will replace them, Trevor Moore’s incredible month of January, and Brett Sutter’s 1000 professional game.

Roy & Anderson Out of the Lineup

Before Sunday’s game against the Pittsburg Penguins, it was announced that defensemen Matt Roy and Mikey Anderson would not be available. Anderson because of an upper-body injury he sustained against the Philadelphia Flyers, and Roy was unavailable after being placed in COVID protocol. For a blue line that is already missing two players, Sean Walker and Alex Edler, losing two top-four defensemen felt like a death sentence. They’re also losing their two best shutdown and most physical defensemen, leaving a team who has struggled to impose themselves physically down two key players.

Matt Roy Los Angeles Kings
Matt Roy, Los Angeles Kings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Losing Roy is particularly problematic, as he has stepped up in a big way recently and has largely carried his pairing with Olli Maatta. It will be much harder to shelter Maatta with a less experienced defenseman moving forward will be difficult, but Roy should only miss the Detroit Red Wings game on Wednesday before returning. There’s still no word on how long Anderson will be out for, but he will likely also miss the Red Wings game on Wednesday. Fortunately, Drew Doughty’s resurgent season will make it easier to find a replacement on the top pairing for now. If Anderson’s injury is long-term, it will put even more pressure on Rob Blake to trade for a left-shot defenseman before the trade deadline.

Kings Replacements on Defense

On Sunday, Jacob Moverare and Austin Strand replaced Anderson and Roy in the lineup. Both players did well, but Moverare was especially impressive. He would finish the game third in time on ice for Kings defensemen and second in penalty kill time on ice for the same group. He also grabbed his first career point, hitting Moore with a beautiful stretch pass for his first goal of the game. As someone who has been a big backer of Moverare, calling for him to play after Edler was injured, it was great to see him succeed in such a big role.

Related: LA Kings’ 1,000 Game Club

Playing top pairing minutes, matched up against Sidney Crosby in just your second career NHL game is a fantastic achievement, and Moverare proved once again, he’s ready for the NHL. Strand played a very sheltered role with just 15:16 of ice time, the least of any Kings defenseman, but he did fine in his limited minutes. He’s still an emergency option who shouldn’t play more than a game or two at a time, but it’s nice to see he can hold his own when called upon.

Ottawa Senators Christian Wolanin
Former Ottawa Senator Christian Wolanin (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand)

The Penguins game will likely be Strands last for a while, with the team announcing that Christian Wolanin will be joining the team in Detroit for Wednesday’s game. The Kings reclaimed Wolanin off waivers for this exact purpose, someone who can jump in between the American Hockey League (AHL) and NHL as needed, an improvement on Strand, but still not an everyday NHL player. As I mentioned, the Red Wings game should be the team’s last without Roy, so I wouldn’t expect Wolanin to be up for long. Unless the team decides to play him over Moverare, which would be a curious decision after his fantastic game Sunday.

Moore’s Miraculous Month

After moving up to the second line to replace Alex Iafallo, who was on the COVID protocol list, Moore has not looked back and has been the team’s most productive forward over the last month. Not only has he been the team’s most productive forward in January, but it’s also the best January a Kings player has had since Anze Kopitar in 2010.

It’s been an incredible month for Moore, who struggled to find offense to start the season. He’s now a staple in the team’s top-six and has been a key member of the team’s most productive line. His line has outscored opponents 10-2, while also dominating possession and scoring chances. He has the full faith of the coaching staff and is showing off the skill that saw him score at a point-per-game pace in college. He is a true plug and play forward who can succeed in any role you give him. It will be interesting to see how long he can sustain this level of production, as it’s unlikely he is now emerging into a point-per-game player, but it’s important to ride players while they are hot, and Moore’s play could be huge in the team’s playoff push this season.

Sutter’s 1000th Game

Doughty playing in his 1000th NHL game Thursday night was all the focus, but the Kings organization had another player hit the 1000 game milestone. AHL veteran, Sutter, son of Darryl Sutter, played in his 1000th professional hockey game. Not quite the same achievement as Doughty, it’s still worth celebrating. Sutter has been a Reign player since 2016 and has served as team captain since 2017. Never an overly prolific player, not someone who had a chance of playing on the NHL roster Sutter’s contributions should not be ignored. He’s played a massive role in mentoring the King’s current crop of prospects and has been a fantastic role model for young players, as an example of how to be a consummate professional.

Kings Finish Their Road Trip in Detroit

The Kings will end their six-game road trip against the Red Wings on Wednesday night, finishing this Eastern Conference sweep. With eight points in five games so far, a win on Wednesday would see them go undefeated in regulation on the trip, making it a very successful six games. Everyone except for Adrian Kempe will get a nice little break after the Red Wings game, as All-Star week approaches. The team won’t play again for nearly two weeks after Wednesday’s game, hopefully giving the team time to recover and regain a few players lost to injury.

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