On Dec. 21, Dwight King participated in a Los Angeles Kings’ practice for the first time since the 2015-16 NHL preseason. While King has began practicing, he is not expected to return to regular season action until after the New Year in a statement by head coach Darryl Sutter according to Kings’ Insider Jon Rosen.
King has missed the first 33 games (so far) of the 2015-16 season due to an injury sustained in the last exhibition game against the Colorado Avalanche in Las Vegas, Nevada. King blocked a shot in the first period and finished the game before having to miss an extended period of time time to have surgery on a broken foot. King has not seen regular season action since April 11 in a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks.
What Dwight King Can Provide to the Kings
Referring back to the 2014-15 season, King had strong possession numbers with a 54.54 corsi for percentage of total and a plus-169 corsi differential at even strength according to war-on-ice and finished the season averaging 12.62 minutes of ice-time per game. King saw his numbers drop slightly in the 2014-15 season with 13 goals and 26 points in 81 games. In 2013-14, King registered a career-high of 15 goals and 15 assists.
As mentioned before, King will be set to make his regular season debut sometime after Jan. 1. The Kings have four games before the New Year including a game tonight against the surging Arizona Coyotes who currently sit fourth in the Pacific Division with 34 points, eight points behind the Kings.
In addition to King practicing and Trevor Lewis who returned back to the line-up in a 5-0 loss against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Kings have tweaked their roster very slightly in order to save some money by sending down and recalling Michael Mersch.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) December 23, 2015
Mersch back up with the team. Am told that the assignment was a finances/cap-related transaction. He’s alongside 15/71. — Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) December 26, 2015
The Kings had recently sent down Mersch to the Ontario Reign on Dec. 23 before officially recalling him today to round out a roster with 13 forwards and seven defensemen. According to CapFriendly, the strategic financial roster move saved the Kings some money on the cap and in salary.
In his first six games with the Kings, Mersch recorded zero points and minus-2 rating. Mersch resumed skating on a line with Jordan Nolan and Andy Andreoff at the team’s practice this morning as Kyle Clifford has yet to return to practice after suffering an upper-body injury against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 6.
The Kings remain atop the Pacific Division with a six-point lead and a game at hand over the second place San Jose Sharks. The Kings have lost their last two and had not lost two in a row in regulation since Nov. 20 against the Detroit Red Wings and then losing again on Nov. 22 against the Carolina Hurricanes.