The Kings are used to being in the red for October when it comes to injuries. The goal is stay in the hunt.
Dustin Brown will be sidelined indefinitely because of a broken finger, as Jeff Carter was sidelined for an extended period early last season. Again it involves a top-two scorer, Brown, who has sat out only 17 games since becoming a full-time player in the 2005-06 season.
“That’s pretty impressive in my books,” Anze Kopitar said. “To have him down, certainly it’s a bit of a handicap, of course, but we’ve dealt with that in the past. As much as we miss him, we’re going to have to forget about him.”
The Kings didn’t skate Monday but began to formulate an adjustment. Coach John Stevens said that he would consider putting Ilya Kovalchuk at right wing with Kopitar. He also was open to returning to the line of Carter, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli.
“I think we’d be foolish not to take a look at that again,” Stevens said.
The Kings assigned defensemen Daniel Brickley, Kale Clague, Kurtis MacDermid, forward Matt Luff and goalie Cal Petersen to the Ontario Reign to reduce their roster to 26 players. Brown and Jonny Brodzinski (shoulder) probably will be on long-term injured reserve and Gabriel Vilardi (back) will be an injured non-roster player.
That means rookies Austin Wagner and Jaret Anderson-Dolan could stay with the Kings, who are tight against the salary cap. Wagner has turned heads with his speed, and Anderson-Dolan hasn’t looked out of place as a 19-year-old.
“I think he’s physically mature for a kid his age,” Stevens said of Anderson-Dolan, “and he’s really intense about his preparation to practice and to play. I think that puts him ahead of a kid that is normally his age. He’s not intimidated playing in the NHL.”
Anderson-Dolan could play nine games with the Kings before one year of his entry-level contract is used. He would otherwise be returned to the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League.
Emerson Etem agreed to a professional tryout contract with the Reign, general manager Rob Blake confirmed late Monday. Earlier in the day, Etem didn’t know his status and said he is only concentrating on his game.
“Staying on the defensive side of the puck, make sure I’m backchecking — those little things than can only lead to more offense — is what I try to look at,” Etem said. “I think it’s going to prepare me for what’s to come.”
Brickley showed well in camp but, unlike Oscar Fantenberg or Paul LaDue, is easier to assign because he doesn’t need to clear waivers. Stevens likes Brickley’s vision and said that Brickley will get another look in the near future.
“He knows we think a lot of him as a player,” Stevens said. “He’s a highly intelligent kid. He’s had a good summer of training and the American Hockey League’s a really good league. … We think Daniel is going to go down there and continue to improve and we don’t think he’s that far away from playing [with us].”
The Kings open the season Friday against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center.