Los Angeles Kings defensive prospect Jacob Moverare is on the move. After being cut from Kings camp and assigned to Ontario of the AHL on Saturday, the Swedish Hockey League’s Frolunda HC announced today that the 20-year-old blue liner will join their team for the remainder of the season. Moverare has played the past two seasons in North America with the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads, but will now return to his native Sweden for the foreseeable future.
While it is not out of the ordinary to see a loan of this kind for a young foreign player, the circumstances are somewhat unique. Moverare is not a stranger to the SHL, skating in four games at the top level as a teenager in 2015-16; however, he was brought up in the developmental system of HV71. By now joining Frolunda, it seems likely that Moverare and his agent were given permission to negotiate a new contract in SHL, rather than simply re-joining his old squad. In Frolunda’s press release, Moverare acknowledges that he worked out with the team this summer and felt comfortable skating with the squad this year.
Moverare’s loan should not be considered any indication that he won’t be back in North America in the future. The 2016 fourth-round pick has shown considerable ability and is simply a victim of the numbers game for L.A. Moverare, a right-shot, puck-moving defenseman, plays a strong, competitive game and is known for his vision and positioning on the ice. In Mississauga, Moverare was a productive player who often paired with Vegas Golden Knights prospect Nic Hague to form a formidable duo. However, after missing time last season due to injury, the Kings made the decision that the best thing for his development this year would be guaranteed ice time, which may have been hard to come by with Ontario. Los Angeles has 16 other defensemen under contract, and even with seven or eight slated for L.A., it would have left at least nine in Ontario prior to Moverare’s loan. Rather than compete for ice time with NHL-ready prospects like Daniel Brickley, Kale Clague, and Alex Lintuniemi or veterans such as Kurtis MacDermid and Paul LaDue, it makes more sense for Moverare to spend the season with Frolunda, where he will likely have a regular top-six role.