On the heels of a turbulent road trip and three-game losing streak, the Kings made a roster move before returning to practice Tuesday.
Forward Carl Grundstrom was recalled from the American Hockey League, bolstering a Kings lineup that was outscored by a combined 15-4 in defeats to the St. Louis Blues last Thursday, Minnesota Wild on Saturday, and Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. The team made no other moves, bringing its roster to the maximum 23 players.
Grundstrom, 21, was acquired by the Kings last January from the Toronto Maple Leafs as part of the Jake Muzzin trade and scored five goals in 15 games. A left-handed winger, he made the team’s season-opening roster this year but only appeared in one game (and recorded an assist) before being sent to the club’s minor-league affiliate, the Ontario Reign, last Friday.
“Grunny is an NHL player,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said at the time. “He just needs to get a few reps, get a little bit of confidence there. He’s more a game player than a practice player. He’ll get in some games there and he’ll be back.”
With the Reign, Grundstrom collected seven points (five goals, two assists) in four games. In 61 career AHL games, the 6-foot, 200-pound Sweden native has 49 points.
“Carl has a lethal shot,” Reign coach Mike Stothers said. “It’s heavy, and he has a quick release. He shoots in stride, he tips pucks and he goes to the net, that’s what a goal scorer does. He is very strong on the puck and is a thick, sturdy body for the opposition to try and contend with. He is an added threat and makes the most of his chances.”
The Kings have been in need of scoring help recently. Despite having the best shot differential in the league — the Kings are plus-107, almost 30 better than the next-closest club — they are 23rd in goals per game (2.58) and 28th in power-play percentage (8.9%). They haven’t scored more than three goals in a game since Oct. 19 and enter Tuesday tied for last in the Western Conference with eight points.
“We got drilled 5-1, but we weren’t running all over the place,” McLellan told reporters following the Kings’ loss to the Blackhawks on Sunday. “We didn’t give up multiple 2-on-1s or 3-on-1s. We still stayed within the structure. Now, within the structure there, you have to have the skill and ability there to execute, and for me, anyhow — and I’m new — there are some that are showing that they can’t. So, maybe we have some guys in Ontario. Maybe we’ve got to shuffle the deck a little bit here, so we’ll make decisions as we go forward here this week.”