After four losses in a row, including some poor defensive coverage of the “self-inflicted wound” variety, the Kings made a series of roster moves this morning. With several days off before their next game (Pittsburgh comes to town on Thursday), there’s no day like today for the Kings to reset and work in some new personnel.
Up: Mike Amadio and Paul LaDue
While Mike Amadio had a mostly quiet stint in the NHL when he was with the Kings in November, it was only a matter of time until he got called back up, based on his current run in the AHL. He’s been centering the Reign’s top line, with Matt Moulson and a rotating cast of right wingers, including Jonny Brodzinski and Matt Luff. Amadio’s got a 17-game point streak going, with nine goals and 19 assists over that time, and has been a driving factor in the Reign’s offense. He’s currently the Reign’s leading scorer, with 11 goals and 23 assists over 30 games. Additionally, Amadio was named the AHL player of the month for December, when he led the AHL in assists and points over that time.
Look for Amadio to center the third or fourth line when he gets into games. Pairing him with Brodzinski could be a good option, as they’ve developed good chemistry together during their time in Ontario.
Extend your point streak to 17 games ✔️— AHL (@TheAHL) January 16, 2018
Score the game-winning shootout goal ✔️
Not a bad night for Mike Amadio. pic.twitter.com/GjSZdIwbPU
Paul LaDue has had a quietly effective season for the Reign, taking on top pairing minutes, most typically with Kevin Gravel. He spent a bit of time with the Kings at the beginning of the season, when Alec Martinez was briefly out of the lineup, but didn’t appear in any games.
LaDue leads the Reign’s defensemen in points, with eight goals and nine assists in 34 games played. He also loves to shoot the puck and is second on the team in shots with 85. (Michael Mersh, as usual, leads with 101.) LaDue provides another right-handed option for the Kings and most likely will anchor the third pairing. He could conceivably be another option on the power play, if they’re looking to shuffle personnel there.
Here's LaDue's Seventh of the Year: pic.twitter.com/gu5bP1hStH— Ontario Reign (@ontarioreign) January 7, 2018
Here's Ladue's tally - great pass from Matt Moulson!— Ontario Reign (@ontarioreign) December 23, 2017
By the way, the first isn't over and already, Mike Amadio & Matt Moulson have extended their scoring streaks pic.twitter.com/EfNxtEBIXe
Down: Kurtis MacDermid, Oscar Fantenberg, and Jussi Jokinen
The reassignment of Kurtis MacDermid and Oscar Fantenberg is long overdue. The criticism of Fantenberg has been inconsistent play, and there’s no better place for him to work out those inconsistencies by being able to take on top minutes in the AHL. His surprise performance during the pre-season earned him a spot on the team, and it’s admirable that he was able to force the Kings to reevaluate their defensemen. But if he’s not getting game time in the NHL, he’s not going to improve his game. Let him play in all situations in Ontario and go from there.
MacDermid was another surprise to make the Kings out of camp. His physicality was something the Kings wanted, especially with Matt Greene no longer on the roster. But the physical presence of MacDermid hasn’t exactly deterred anyone from making reckless plays — Andrew Cogliano and Patrick Maroon have the suspensions to prove it — and his lack of speed and mobility have been exploited by other teams as the season has gone on.
Jussi Jokinen was acquired in exchange for Mike Cammalleri, offering both players a change of scenery. Jokinen performed fine, but the roster doesn’t need both him and Torrey Mitchell on it. They’re both the same sort of player, and Mitchell won the competition to stay in the lineup. If he clears waivers, he’ll report to Ontario. Jokinen could still be helpful to a team looking to add an experienced veteran to solidify the bottom part of their lineup, and he’s affordable, so there’s a chance he could be claimed.