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Jonny Brodzinski ready to make most of opportunity with Kings

Jonny Brodzinski ready to make most of opportunity with Kings
Kings defenseman Kevin Gravel is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Boston Bruins on Feb. 23. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Forward Jonny Brodzinski saw many familiar faces in the Kings' locker room after he was promoted from Ontario (Calif.) of the American Hockey League on Thursday.

Brodzinski, chosen in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, felt comfortable after seeing forward Adrian Kempe, his linemate and roommate in Ontario, and after being reunited with defenseman Kevin Gravel and center Nic Dowd, his teammates at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. "Knowing some of these guys a long time from development camps and all the preseason camps, it's real easy to adapt," said Brodzinski, who led the Reign with 25 goals and 47 points in 56 games.

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But Brodzinski had his I'm-in-the-big-leagues moment when he met future hall of famer Jarome Iginla. "He's a player that I've kind of always looked up to, and now getting to play with him, it's pretty weird," Brodzinski said Friday. "He's a great player. He's a role model. He's somebody that a young guy like me can look up to."

Brodzinski skated alongside Dowd and Kempe on one of five lines in Friday's practice and it's possible he will make his debut Saturday. "I'm excited for those two young guys, Kempe and him, just to see what they've got," Coach Darryl Sutter said. "It's getting a little broad to start talking about roles or any of that stuff. We just want to try and get them a game here or there and see where they're at.

"It's not easy putting a player like Jonny in because he's a winger and we're playing two really young centermen and at least three young defensemen so you've pretty much got to take somebody out to put him in."

Brodzinski is willing to be patient. "Just be 100% in practice," he said. "At this point I'm just waiting for my chance and learning everything that I can. Just kind of being a sponge, retaining everything that I can possibly retain right now. Just waiting for my chance."

He said he's enjoying being involved in a playoff chase. The Kings are eight points out of the final West spot with nine games left. "We're still in the hunt. Everybody's pretty excited," he said. "That was a big win [Thursday]. We're still alive. That was the quote after the game. I'm just waiting for my chance and I'm willing to do anything I can to help out."

Iginla nominated for Masterton trophy

Iginla, acquired by the Kings from Colorado on March 1, was nominated for the Masterton trophy by the Los Angeles chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Assn. The award is given annually to the NHL player "who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."

"It is a nice compliment, one that I didn't expect," Iginla said, "and I think my parents will enjoy that, and that's cool. It's neat."

UP NEXT

vs. New York Rangers

Where: Staples Center.

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

On the air: TV: FSWest. Radio: 790.

Update: Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi is expected to play for the first time since he suffered an ankle injury on Feb. 7. … Antti Raanta is expected to start in goal for the Rangers, who have the NHL's best road record (26-9-1). They defeated the Kings, 3-2, at home on Jan. 23.

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Follow Helene Elliott on Twitter @helenenothelen

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