In this week’s installment of Los Angeles Kings News & Rumors, we’ll be looking at training camp, the Rookie Showcase in Arizona, and some trade news, or rather the lack thereof.
Kings Training Camp
The Kings recently announced the schedule for this year’s training camp. It will kick-off at the Toyota Sports Performance Center on Thursday, Sep. 23, and will run through Monday, Sep. 28; the team will be in LA for the first four days of camp before departing to Arizona for their first preseason game. Training camp should help us answer several of the big question marks heading into this season. Where will newcomers Phillip Danault, Alex Edler, and Viktor Arvidsson slot into the lineup? Will any of the rookies, such as Quinton Byfield or Alex Turcotte, crack the opening night roster? Which of the fringe forwards is traded or sent through waivers? While training camp is unlikely to answer all these questions fully, it should give us a better picture of how the team might look come opening night.
For me, the most intriguing question to answer during training camp is, Will Vladimir Tkachyov make the team? He’s a complete wild card that can throw a wrench in most people’s preseason lineup predictions. The highly skilled Russian could finish the month anywhere from on the Kings’ second line to back in the KHL in Russia. He could be an impact player on a Kings team looking to make their postseason return or yet another Kings bust from Russia.
For the other newcomers, it will be interesting to see if Arvidsson can build early chemistry with Anze Kopitar, as most people expect them to start the season together — we might also get an idea of who will play with them on the top line. Similarly, it will be interesting to see who the coaching staff places on either side of Danault. The former Montreal Canadien will be hoping to find players he can feed the puck to, as the defensive center looks to add more points to his game this season. Perhaps the most difficult question will be, who gets cut from the Kings’ roster? The Kings will likely need to cut a minimum of three forwards before the season starts, whether it’s through a trade or waivers. We might see those moves soon, as players that don’t impress during camp might be off the roster before long.
Don’t Expect Big Trades
While the trade rumors surrounding the Kings have died down significantly after the first day of free agency, there are still people making noise about the team’s desire to add another big name. The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman recently put any thoughts that the Kings might make a big move to bed in her mailbag article. In response to a question about the Kings possibly looking for a big trade, she stated,
If the goal is to get a franchise-altering player, that’s a trade to be made at the time of the 2022 draft.— From, “Kings executives headed toward the hot seat? When might the next big trade happen?: Mailbag, part 2” The Athletic 9/26/21
If that trade does come during the 2022 Draft, I’d imagine it would be for a big-name defenseman rather than a forward. Regardless, it’s good to hear that the Kings’ front office is remaining patient with what they currently have. Now is not the time to make win-now moves.
2021 Rookie Faceoff Tournament
The Arizona Rookie Faceoff Tournament has now concluded. The Kings went 2-1 over the weekend with wins over the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes — in the last of three games, LA fell to the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2. The team started off the weekend hot, running through the Avs 4-0 before sneaking out 2-1 winners in a shootout, but couldn’t finish off the sweep Monday. Unfortunately, young star Byfield did leave during game three with an undisclosed upper-body injury.
Hopefully, this is a precautionary move by the Kings and that his injury isn’t serious. Another interesting note is the revolving door of captains we saw during the weekend. Sean Durzi and Rasmus Kupari wore the C in separate games — with Arthur Kaliyev, Turcotte, Byfield, Matt Phillips, Aidan Dudas, Samuel Fagemo, and Tyler Madden all served as Alternate Captains in one game. We will have a full recap on the Rookie Tournament up soon.
My name is Austin Stanovich, as a lifelong player and fan I’m hoping to bring my own unique perspective on the hockey world, specifically covering the Los Angeles Kings. As a SoCal native I grew up a Kings fan, and after graduating from Long Beach State in 2020 I’ve joined The Hockey Writers crew as a columnist for the Kings.