Andrew Bodnarchuk was waived by the Kings this morning, which means Jake Muzzin has won the battle for the role of extra defenseman in camp.
After watching them play in Manchester this season, my impression was that Bodnarchuk was the more consistent of the two, although Muzzin, who played on the top pair, is certainly bigger (6'3", 214 lbs.) and flashier. Both are more offensive defensemen rather than Mitchell-types.
Muzzin, now 23, had a brief stint with the Kings back in the fall of 2010 when he earned a spot out of camp. He had one assist in eleven games before he was sent back down to work on his defensive game. His road back to the NHL got tougher when Alec Martinez took his place and stuck with the big club instead.
Robert noted that Muzzin's possession stats during that call-up were troubling, although we can't conclude much about his current ability from a handful of games two seasons ago.
Davis Drewiske is more experienced and could get the nod once the season starts, but for now, Muzzin has a shot at advancing his career. If the Kings do decide to send him back to Manchester, though, he could get snagged off waivers like Hickey.
Will Kopitar go on Injured Reserve?
The rules on injured reserve are the same as they were under the last CBA. If Kopitar and Mitchell are placed on IR to create more room for other players, they must remain out of action for at least seven days. (UPDATE: They could also be put on IR retroactive to the start of training camp.)
Mitchell looks like he's out indefinitely, but how close is Kopitar to returning?
Kopitar has been skating and doing drills in practice, though he is not cleared for contact. (You can watch some great video of him in action here.) Kopi reports feeling good, but the team has made it clear that they won't rush him and risk a setback. His recovery was supposed to take 2-3 weeks. It's already been 12 days since the injury.
I'm guessing they'll put both players on IR. If Kopitar misses a few games, the team can handle it. The Kings have a good-looking top six in the meantime, and Lombardi thinks the cautious approach is best.
Decision time on forwards
Tyler Toffoli should be sent back down to the AHL soon too, but he can't be claimed. The 20-year-old sniper earned a lot of praise in camp--Lombardi even compared him to Luc at the open practice--but as a first year pro, they'd rather bring him along in Manchester.
Will new acquisition Anthony Stewart stick around? Should he? We'll see what other cuts are made as we approach the final day of camp.