The injuries incurred by Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell and left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky will sideline the players anywhere from four to six weeks. Mitchell has a fracture in his wrist, it was discovered Monday, and Ponikarovsky is dealing with a broken finger. Both injuries occurred in a 4-1 victory Saturday against visiting Nashville.
Looking at the schedule over the next six weeks, the Kings play 18 games in that span, which is about 22% of the regular season. Eight of those games are at home, three are against Pacific Division rivals.
Look for the Kings to recall Jake Muzzin from their AHL affiliate in Manchester. It was Muzzin who covered for Matt Greene while he missed the first five games recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, and for Drew Doughty when he missed six games because of a concussion.
Up front, don’t be surprised if rookie Andrei Loktionov is brought back up. He was with the Kings for the first 11 games this season, then was demoted last week when Scott Parse returned from a groin injury.
Ponikarovky’s absence could also open the door for rookie forwards Brayden Schenn and Kyle Clifford to stick around beyond their ninth games. Both are too young to play in the AHL, so they would have to be returned to their junior teams before their 10th appearances, or the Kings would be on the hook for their contracts this season, whether they stick with the club or not.
Clifford has appeared in nine games, Schenn in eight.
Because the Kings are looking more and more like a Stanley Cup contender, Schenn and Clifford’s roles on the team, though minor, could come in handy this season. If the Kings were still in a rebuilding phase, it would be more important to their development for them to get significant ice time at the junior level.
We'll have more on the situation following Tuesday morning's practice.