All the pieces are in place for Brooks Laich for the twilight phase of his career. He’s already familiar with Southern California sunsets.
He spends his summers in Los Angeles and knows many of the Kings. His wife, actress Julianne Hough, is based here and the newlyweds could continue their careers in the same place if he makes the Kings’ roster.
“This is home for me,” Laich said.
Laich also likes the Kings’ foundation and believes he has a lot to give at 34. He runs through drills at Kings training camp with the pep of a rookie and not like a 13-year NHL veteran on a professional tryout contract.
“The joy of the game increases every single day,” Laich said. “I thought I loved the game at the age of 20. I’m 34. I love it more every single day, and that kind of love makes you fight so much harder for another day and another chance.”
Laich is taking his tryout with optimism and realism. Injuries have played a part in his career downtick, and financial considerations forced the Washington Capitals to trade Laich, then their longest-tenured player, to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2016. Laich played in the minors last season.
Still, Kings coach John Stevens is intrigued with Laich as a possible bottom-six forward.
“He’s a really good checking player, so depending on how he performs in camp, he can clearly be a guy that brings some experience to your team and some secondary scoring,” Stevens said.
Precedence is on Laich’s side. Devin Setoguchi made the Kings on a tryout last season. Laich understands he’s up against younger players. He also finds himself rediscovering that youthful energy.
“I still feel like just a kid,” Laich said.
Stevens said Jonathan Quick would get considerable work in the preseason, which begins Saturday at Staples Center.
Stevens noted that Quick looked great Friday, but he would consult with goalie coach Bill Ranford.
“Johnny will get what he needs,” Stevens said. “I would suspect that he would play in most of the games that we have available to us, just because of the way they’re spread out, but Billy and I are still formulating a plan.”
Marian Gaborik (knee) practiced. … The Kings will hold an open tryout for an emergency goalie Sept.27 at Toyota Sports Center. Candidates “will have played a high level of amateur hockey, but must not have signed a contract to play in a professional league contract,” according to the Kings.