The Los Angeles Kings have completed several transactions, including recalls of Alex Turcotte and Vladimir Tkachev. Austin Strand and Kale Clague have both been loaned back to the Ontario Reign, while Drew Doughty has been moved to long-term injured reserve.
Before Kings fans get excited about a potential NHL debut for Turcotte, the fifth-overall pick from 2019, these moves could simply be in order to maximize the relief pool that Doughty’s injury provides. Sending both Clague and Strand to the minor leagues leaves the team with just five defensemen on the roster (compared to 15 forwards) and will likely mean another move comes before tomorrow night’s game.
Still, there could be a good reason to give Turcotte that debut pretty soon. The 20-year-old forward has five points in his first eight games for the Reign this season after racking up 21 in 32 last year. That was in addition to starring for the U.S. at the most recent World Junior Championship, where he helped secure a gold medal with eight points in seven games.
Tkachev meanwhile has already played in four games this season for the Kings, registering two assists. The KHL veteran was signed to a one-year entry-level contract in May, one which does include a European Assignment Clause, which could be activated at some point if the 26-year-old stays in the minor leagues. A star overseas, it doesn’t make much sense for Tkachev to be playing for $80K in the AHL. For at least one day, he’ll earn his NHL salary with the Kings instead.
The two forwards each carry slightly higher cap hits at the NHL level than Clague and Strand, meaning they get the Kings a little closer to the cap ceiling. That’s the goal when you’re putting someone on LTIR during the season, as it gives you the largest relief pool to operate in. Given how little flexibility they had before, this will allow them to try out some of their young prospects whenever necessary.