The 33-year-old defenseman who struggled to find his game this season cleared waivers on Thursday morning and will be assigned to the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate in Ontario, Calif., according to Kings Coach Darryl Sutter.
Defenseman Kevin Gravel, a highly regarded prospect, and veteran goalie Peter Budaj, who were both with Ontario, have joined the Kings in New York. Official announcement of their recall should come later in the day.
The presence of Budaj is an insurance move in the aftermath of an injury to starter Jonathan Quick. The All-Star goalie is day to day, Sutter confirmed.
“I know he wants to play,” Sutter said on Thursday afternoon. “But we’ll have to handle that one. He finished the game [in Boston]. He wants to play. Anything more is nobody’s business.
“Anything more is just telling the other team what we’re doing. We’re good at it. I don’t like that.”
He was effusive about Budaj, who has been sensational with the Ontario Reign, recording eight shutouts this season.
“He had a good training camp,” Sutter said. “It’s good to see them older guys that come in without contracts, on tryouts. The league is becoming more and more that. We’ve seen that this season more than ever.
“That middle-class guy is getting pushed out because of the high-end contracts and the entry-level contracts.”
The Kings once had a plethora of young goaltending prospects but the landscape has shifted. Jhonas Enroth is 27 and Budaj turned 33 in September.
“Now our backups are older guys, quite honest,” Sutter said. “So I think it’s a good competition. I have no problem with Peter. I said that in training camp. I have no problem with him being on our team, either.”