The Los Angeles Kings have officially placed defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov on injured reserve, and have recalled goaltender David Rittich on an emergency basis. Given that players must be on the injured reserve for a minimum of seven days after placement, the timeline of Gavrikov’s return will not change much, given that it was reported he would be week-to-week.
As one of the more frustrating defenders to line up against in the NHL, the Kings will be hard-pressed to find an internal option to replace Gavrikov in their lineup adequately. Since the team is unwilling to carry more than three right-handed shot defensemen, they will likely fill in the hole with Jacob Moverare and Tobias Bjornfot.
Being the second-highest-paid defenseman on the team, Gavrikov ranks fourth amongst Los Angeles defensemen in average time on ice, scoring three goals and nine points in 25 games. On the defensive side of the puck, Gavrikov is fourth on the team in blocked shots and continues to post above-average possession numbers from the blue line.
In the case of Rittich, it was reported earlier this afternoon that regular backup goaltender Pheonix Copley was helped off the ice toward the end of today’s practice (X Link). Currently, there has been no update as to the status of Copley, although it is likely he will not suit up in the team’s game tomorrow night against the Seattle Kraken.
Although Rittich has operated as a backup goaltender for much of his career, this will be his first callup with the Kings since signing a one-year, $875K contract this past summer. In 16 games played for Los Angeles’ AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign, Rittich holds a 7-6-3 record with a .901 SV% and a 2.63 GAA.