Although they started a training camp with 67 players, the expectations of the Kings and Reign roster have been largely set for months. However, like every season, there are still a few unanswered questions that need to be ironed out. With less than 10 days left until opening night in Los Angeles, things are slowly starting to unfold.
We’ve spent the past few days gathering some information, so let’s break it all down…
On Sunday night, the Kings and Ducks will play their first of three pre-season games. The only other competitor in Los Angeles will be the Vegas Golden Knights of Salt Lake City in this year’s Frozen Fury.
Several potential players from the younger Kings have already been brought back to their junior clubs, as the OHL season begins this weekend.
On Monday, the Kings will go through their most important purge of camp, as they begin the grueling task of recruiting players to the AHL – marking the start of the AHL training camp. The task of potential clients who do not need exemptions will be a fairly simple task. They were set in Ontario and immediately added to the list. The other players will have to go through the concessions first and then (assuming it’s clear) they’ll be assigned the next day.
Preliminary predictions for the table
When everything is settled, the two teams will start with something very similar to:
LA Kings 2022-23 Predicted List
Viala – Copetar – Kempe
Moore – Danault – TBD1
Yavalo – Bifield – Kaliev
Limieux – Lisuzette – Grundstrom
TBD2 – TBD3
Anderson – Dottie
TBD4 – Rui
IDLER – TBD4
*More about TBD centers down below
Ontario Reign 2022-23 Predicted List
TBD – Tynan – Fagemo
Madden – Kobari – Chromiac
Dudas – Thomas – Ward
Nachbaur – Helenius – Doty
Quinn – Wagner
Nousiainen – Grans
TBD – TBD
Gaunce – Superica
Bison – Allard
Note: The last two goalkeepers listed are expected to spend the majority of this season in ECHL, with occasional calls to Ontario.
List of questions to be answered
There are clearly some key names missing from the lineups above, including: Victor Arvidson, Gabi Velardi, Garrett Anderson-Dolan, Leas Anderson and Nate Thompson up front. In the background, they will need to solve the problem of Brandt Clark, Shawn Dorzy, Tobias Björnfoot, Shawn Walker, Jacob Moverer and Jordan Spence.
Let’s deal with them one by one…
First question – what’s going on with Arvidsson?
Yes, he has started skiing with the Kings, having started the month alone. Our sources indicate that it works very well, perhaps even better than some expected. However, he is still not expected to be ready for the opening ceremony. The current schedule has it targeted around November 1 (the Kings have road games in St. Louis on October 31 and Dallas the next day). There is some interest in trying to get him into a pre-season game, if possible. If it does, then October 8 will most likely come against the ducks in the house. Either way, it is expected that he will need several more weeks before getting the green light for regular season matches.
Question 2 – Which other attackers will get points on the NHL roster?
Well, this is kind of a two-part question. When the Arvidsson is intact and ready to go, there are only two points in the list that are not claimed (using the above configuration). That would come down to Velardi, Anderson Dolan and Anderson. What makes the decision even more difficult is that all three players will need exemptions before they are relinquished to AHL Ontario. In the end, it is expected that he will turn out to be the last two. Assuming Velardi is the team, would they go with Anderson Dolan or Anderson? It all depends on things like preference, philosophy, need, etc. Both players come with one-year deals, so getting a claim by another team won’t require a long-term commitment. JAD is a high-character, cultured, bottom six striker who is versatile enough to play as a midfielder or winger. On paper, Anderson is the most skilled winger who has shown flashes of brilliance in the AHL, but hasn’t consistently collected them at the NHL level. With Arvidsson not expected to be ready for Game 1 on October 11, that decision could start a few weeks later, with all three currently targeting the opening night roster.
Here’s one funny thing to remember in all of this. Things change quickly. For example, after dropping out of training camp last year, Karl Gundstrom was probably destined to compromise (with the purpose of sending him to the AHL). See how things turned out. Injured Quinton Byfield, Grundstrom stayed in the NHL with an extra spot on the roster and then opened…and went on to play a key role with the team, then was rewarded with a two-year contract extension this summer.
Question 3 – What about Fagemo and Kupari?
Both players are still exempt from concessions. In the end, they will just have to spend their time in Ontario. If someone had come and shut down a training camp, would it have been possible for him to make his way to the King List? It is possible, but not very likely. Again, coach Todd McClellan had only 2-3 open points up front – before hitting Fagemo or Kupari – and four forwards to fill in those positions that were all out of concessions. Could an amazing camp of Fagemo pay the Kings to put JAD on concessions to make way for him? Again, this is possible. However, look at the big picture. The first three streaks were set in Los Angeles once Arvidsson returned. So, why risk losing JAD to another team for just a few weeks of Fagemo in Los Angeles? At best, Fagemo and Kupari were vying for 13th and 14th places in Los Angeles.
Obviously, if something goes wrong with one of the other attackers over the next week or so, those two are in the best position to take advantage of any new List Points created – even temporary List Points.
Question 4 – Will Dorzie or Walker be ready for opening night?
Shawn Dorzy is the easiest one to answer. Although nothing has been set in stone, it is expected that he will be ready to go to Game 1 vs. vegas. Although he was recently cleared of contact, Dorsey will not play on Sunday against the Ducks. We hear he was targeted to make his pre-season debut later this week. Assuming it’s available on Opening Night, it takes one of the three TBD points listed above.
Sean Walker is a puzzle that is a little difficult to solve. The most likely scenario could make him start the season in Ontario on a conditioning assignment. After all, he’s coming out of a pretty serious surgery and getting back into the game wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. However, fitting this piece into the puzzle may also affect Bjornfot, Spence, Moverare, and/or Edler. There’s also the Brandt Clarke factor, but we’ll get to that in a minute. When it comes to Edler, ideally, they would probably like to limit his games played to around 45-60. With him out of the squad — and operating under the assumption that Walker isn’t ready to go on October 11 — Bjornfot or Moverare would be the most logical solution in LD. Both are more than capable. Only Björnfot is exempt from waiver. It can easily be sent to Ontario while everything is settled. Moverare played 19 games for the Kings last season and was strong. In fact, show it all Mark Yannette said about him When he was 17 years old.
That’s a weird thing to think about… Bjornfot played more NHL games than any other defensive player for the Kings last season. This season could start in the AHL due to the roster crisis.
Question 5 – What will happen with Brandt Clark?
We think there’s a good chance Clarke will start his 2022-23 campaign with the Kings. It’s too soon to know if he’ll get nine NHL games before returning to OHL. However, they came to camp with a rough plan to play him in every pre-season game and he has certainly caught the attention of a lot of people this month – including Drew Dottie, who has praised him on several occasions. Clark is an offensive dynamo and seems to make things happen when he’s on the ice. Keeping it all season would be a bit of a quandary, as Kings are loaded onto the right side. His arrival in Los Angeles, however temporary, will likely push Spence to the AHL for the time being.
Question 6 – What happens to Nate Thompson?
Currently in camp under a professional trial agreement (PTO), if Thompson is offered a contract, he will be targeted to start the season in Ontario. His contract could be an AHL-only deal, which will give him the most freedom should another NHL club call later this year. Or, the Kings could offer him a two-way contract, paying him several hundred thousand in the AHL, with only NHL money if he is called up to the big club due to injury. The latter would also require him to go through waivers before being assigned to the American Hockey League. Thompson is a great guy in the room, a versatile striker, and he could be exactly what they’re looking for on a young Reign roster.
Pictures of Daniel Stopani
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