In this week’s edition of Kings News & Rumors, I’ll be looking at the King’s prospects hit by the injury bug, the positive view of management, and the players who put in hard work this offseason.
The Injury Bug Hits Hard
Unfortunately, the Kings have been hit hard by the injury bug in the last week. Star prospects Quinton Byfield and Alex Turcotte both missed most of development camp due to injuries. A lingering foot injury limited Byfield to roughly ten minutes of ice time during the week.
This was a blow to fans who wanted to see the organization’s top prospect, but the Kings decided to be cautious with him and kept him off the ice almost entirely. Turcotte’s injury was more sudden and required emergency surgery for acute appendicitis sometime between the Monday skate and Tuesday morning.
Fortunately, it was confirmed that neither injury is serious, and both players should be ready for rookie camp on Sept.16. However, prospect Kim Nousiainen suffered a more serious injury, per Elite Prospects’ Lassi Alanen. Nousiainen is expected to miss 12 weeks with what’s being reported as a high ankle sprain. That’s a tough setback for the Finnish forward, who put together a solid World Championships just a few months ago. He was poised to have a breakout season in Liiga, and hopefully, his development will not be hurt much by this injury. To cap off the Kings’ week of injuries, prospect Aatu Jamsen has suffered a possible neck or head injury. Luckily, he’s reportedly day-to-day and shouldn’t miss too much time.
Fans Are Confident in Management
In happier news, Kings fans seem very pleased with how the organization is running. The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn recently released the results of his yearly survey, judging how fans feel about their team’s front office. The Kings ranked seventh, with fans being particularly impressed by management’s drafting and vision.
Only one other team saw a higher draft and develop rating from their fans and for good reason given how pristine the team’s prospect pipeline is. The Kings are doing the rebuild right and fans have noticed, giving stong marks for the team’s overall vision as well.
– From “2021 NHL front office rankings: Fans weigh in on every team,” The Athletic, 8/25/21.
According to the survey, fans are confident that general manager Rob Blake and his team are the right group to bring success to LA. These next few seasons will show how well they can transition from a rebuilding team to a Cup contender, but for now, fans are very happy.
During development camp, several Kings players were spotted at Toyota Sports Performance Center (TSPC) in El Segundo. Akil Thomas was on the ice, still recovering from double shoulder surgery, and Viktor Arvidsson has landed in LA and is continuing his offseason training at TSPC.
Gabriel Vilardi was also spotted at TSPC daily, working with an individual skating coach during development camp. Vilardi seemed to be focusing on his edge work and acceleration during these sessions. He looks to have improved his foot speed and should be ready for a big season. Another quick note on Thomas, he was seen visiting the Keck Medicine of USC Orthopedic Surgery Center located in the Kings’ training facility. As someone who has received shoulder surgeries from the doctors at this facility, I’ve never been more confident in a player making a full recovery. Thomas should be ready for a big season with the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League.
My name is Austin Stanovich, as a lifelong player and fan I’m hoping to bring my own unique perspective on the hockey world, specifically covering the Los Angeles Kings. As a SoCal native I grew up a Kings fan, and after graduating from Long Beach State in 2020 I’ve joined The Hockey Writers crew as a columnist for the Kings.