Kings announce active roster for opener against Wild with several players out

Kings center Gabriel Vilardi celebrates his goal with teammates on the bench Feb. 20, 2020.
Kings center Gabriel Vilardi (12) celebrates a goal with teammates on the bench during a game against the Florida Panthers on Feb. 20, 2020, at Staples Center.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Kings on Wednesday announced their opening-night active roster and taxi squad ahead of Thursday’s season opener against the Minnesota Wild:

Forwards: Michael Amadio, Andreas Athanasiou, Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, Carl Grundstrom, Alex Iafallo, Adrian Kempe, Anze Kopitar, Blake Lizotte, Matt Luff, Trevor Moore, Gabriel Vilardi, Austin Wagner.

Defensemen: Mark Alt, Mikey Anderson, Tobias Bjornfot, Kale Clague, Drew Doughty, Olli Maatta, Matt Roy.


Goalies: Troy Grosenick, Jonathan Quick.

Taxi squad: Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Lias Andersson, Austin Strand, Matt Villalta.

Injured/nonroster: Cal Petersen (COVID Protocol Related Absences), Sean Walker (CPRA), Kurtis MacDermid (CPRA), Martin Frk (lower body), Alex Turcotte (lower body).

Overview: The Kings will be short-handed to open the season. Petersen and third-pairing defensemen Walker (who was also supposed to be part of their secondary power-play unit) and MacDermid are unavailable as they complete COVID-19 protocols, according to general manager Rob Blake. Blake did confirm that the trio has been testing negative for the virus and could be activated as soon as Friday.

Vilardi, who had previously been among the unfit group, will be available Thursday. That bolsters the Kings’ depth at center, an important development for a forward group that led to the Kings averaging only 2.53 goals per game last season (second-lowest in the league).

Once the rest of the unfit players return, the team will be hoping to see continued improvements along their blue line — a position that welcomes the newly acquired Maatta and a promising rookie in Anderson — and in net after allowing fewer than three goals per game in 2019-20 (they ranked 14th in the NHL).

The Kings also announced Wednesday that prospects Quinton Byfield and Arthur Kaliyev will begin the season with the minor league Reign.