Earlier this season, it was being suggested that the Kings might be willing to part with a defenseman at some point during the year. Now, it appears that not only are they going to keep the ones they have but add as well. TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports that GM Rob Blake has identified a defender that can shift between the second and third pairings as their top priority heading into the trade deadline.
There is a well-defined top-four for Los Angeles with Derek Forbort sliding in at that fourth spot while averaging 21:04 of ice time. However, their depth players haven’t established themselves as players that can move up in a pinch and as a result, there is a sizable gap between the playing time for their bottom pairing; Christian Folin checks in at fifth in ATOI at just 15:23 per game. Acquiring someone that could play on the second pairing would not only give the Kings some insurance in case injuries arise but would also go a long way to stabilizing their third pairing.
Elsewhere in the West:
- Golden Knights winger Tomas Nosek has returned to Vegas to be evaluated by team doctors for an upper-body injury sustained last night against Nashville, notes Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (Twitter link). The injury came from a hit from Predators defenseman Alexei Emelin. Nosek has been a regular on the fourth line for the surprisingly-strong expansion team this season, collecting eight points through 41 games. His absence will open up a spot for one of winger Brendan Leipsic or center Cody Eakin to return to the lineup.
- Avalanche center Tyson Jost is dealing with a leg issue and won’t play tomorrow night against the Sharks, reports Mike Chambers of the Denver Post. The injury came about when he inadvertently blocked a shot from a teammate on Monday. Colorado is getting some good news on the injury front, however. Winger J.T. Compher will play on Thursday after missing the last six games with an upper-body problem. Meanwhile, defenseman Tyson Barrie (hand) and Semyon Varlamov (groin) have both resumed skating as well so it appears that more help will soon be on the horizon.