Of all the Kings defensemen fighting for a roster spot, Daniel Brickley had the most to gain based on his performance in the pre-season. With only two real spots available for defensemen, Brickley’s found himself in a fight with Paul LaDue, Oscar Fantenberg, and, to some extent, Kurtis MacDermid, for a spot in the lineup.
Common sense says that the spots belong to LaDue and Fantenberg, as both would need to clear waivers to get sent down. Fantenberg in particular stands a relatively high chance of getting claimed by a team wanting to shore up their depth on defense, as a player who can capably play up and down the lineup.
LaDue has long been the prospect the Kings most wanted to keep other teams away from. As someone who was often the subject of trade buzz, particularly around the trade deadline, the Kings have steadfastly refused to offer him up. He’s yet to really prove himself as a regular, though, and hasn’t had the sort of break-through performance that would solidify his spot. He did have some of the best stats on the team last night at even strength: 54.84% Corsi for, which led the team, with a good mix of defensive/offensive zone starts, and the team saw slightly more shots/scoring chances with LaDue on the ice than without.
Brickley, though, continues to make his case. While he still has some hesitation in his game, common with less experienced players, he led the defense in ice time, including significant usage on the penalty kill. The game wasn’t quite as easy for him when he was anchoring a pairing of his own, rather than skating alongside Drew Doughty, and last night showed that he has some way to go, but it looks like the Utahn is going to make the Kings have to make some hard choices over the next week.
Oh, no, Jack.
In case you missed it last night, this is exactly why Austin Wagner is still with the team:
Speaking of defensemen, Curtis Zupke digs deeper into the roster battle between Oscar Fantenberg and Paul LaDue. [LA Times]
Mike Amadio, looking like more of a lock for a roster spot as the pre-season goes on, definitely put in the work this summer to up his game. [The Athletic]
There Is A World Outside Of Southern California, We Guess
Nicklas Backstrom is still one of the most underappreciated players in hockey who should probably be a household name. Get to know him a little more in Isabelle Khurshudyan’s deep dive profile. [Washington Post]
For AHL followers, the 2018-19 media guide and record book is out now. [AHL]
More coaches of color are finding work in professional hockey than ever before, including Kahlil Thomas with the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits and Leo Thomas with the SPHL’s Macon Mayhem. Kahlil is Kings’ prospect Akil Thomas’ father; Leo is Akil’s uncle. [The Color of Hockey]
In case you missed it, Corey Perry is out for up to five months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus, as well as clean up previous damage to his MCL. [Orange County Register]
In a series looking at NCAA players, Nicole Haase spoke with current Clarkson goalie Kassidy Sauve about her decision to move on from Ohio State for her final year of eligibility. [Victory Press]
Everyone’s A Comedian
Asked Erik Karlsson today about the time his new partner Vlasic speared him in Ottawa in 2016.— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) September 26, 2018
Karlsson: "Oh fuck, I haven’t even brought that up yet.”
(Turns to Vlasic): “(Remember) when you tried to end my life in Ottawa two years ago?”
Vlasic: “Didn’t work.”