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Off-Day Watch 10/1: Next Man Up

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With Dustin Brown out indefinitely, who’s ready to step into his place?

Los Angeles Kings v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Kings have several options at right wing, with Dustin Brown out for the foreseeable future with a broken finger. In terms of veteran experience, Tyler Toffoli could fit the bill, but is it better to keep him united with Tanner Pearson and Mike Amadio, to provide the depth scoring threat that the Kings have struggled with in the past? Trevor Lewis, the ultimate utility player, could step in there, but may not be the best long-term solution. And Ilya Kovalchuk, still looking to create chemistry with anyone, on any line, can play either wing, so he might find a home alongside Anze Kopitar yet.

Of course, there’s opportunity there for another Kings rookie to make an unexpected jump, just like Alex Iafallo did last year. In case you missed out on our Top 25 Under 25 profiles, make sure you read up on the young players who might get to see time next to Kopitar.

Austin Wagner came in at #17 on our list, slipping several spots from 2017 on the basis of a ho-hum first pro season. Wagner missed training camp and the first two months of the 2017-18 season as he recovered from off-season surgery, and it took him time to adjust to professional hockey. Once he found his footing, his game improved, and throughout this year’s training camp, he’s been showing off the speed that’s made him so attractive to the Kings. He collected just one goal over five pre-season games, but was one of the most noticeable players on ice in the Kings’ last pre-season game against the Ducks.

The other most noticeable player? Jaret Anderson-Dolan, our #4 prospect. Anderson-Dolan put up 91 points in 70 games in the WHL last year, had a very noticeable World Juniors Summer Showcase tournament, and has been one of the best players on ice for the Kings throughout their rookie games in Vegas and the pre-season. While he would take a starring role back with the Spokane Chiefs, were he to return to junior hockey, he’s making it very hard for the Kings to send him back.

Kings Things

With Dustin Brown out, the opportunity has never been greater for Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Austin Wagner. [The Athletic]

A bunch of Hockey Men named their top five current NHL players. One King makes the cut. [NHL]

Look out, Joe Thornton. The Manchester Monarchs’ Colton Saucerman may have the best beard in hockey. [Reign Insider]

Adrian Kempe hopes to build off of a strong World Championships performance in his second full year in the NHL. [Los Angeles Times]

Emerson Etem just wants a chance to show that he can still play. [Los Angeles Daily News]

The Kings, along with several other Western Conference teams, are making moves to grow the game in areas that aren’t traditionally thought of as hockey markets. [The Athletic]

Elsewhere in the World

The Sharks may have lost their final preseason game 5-2 to the Vegas Golden Knights, but they’re going to have a heck of a lot of fire power this season:

The NHL’s officiating combine is seeking to add more women to the ranks, preparing them to officiate in all levels of hockey and someday, hopefully, the NHL. [NHL]

An in-depth look at Joe Murphy, Stanley Cup champion and #1 draft pick, currently homeless on the streets of Kenora, Ontario. [Sportsnet]

Even-Strength.com is a new repository for advanced NWHL stats. The Ice Garden interviews Alyssa Longmuir, one of the four founders of the new site. [The Ice Garden]

Naming a new team isn’t easy. Seattle’s going to have to get over a bunch of hurdles in order to come up with a name for the league’s 32nd team. [Seattle Times]

Scott Hartnell says goodbye to hockey: