Sean Walker Injured
The Los Angeles Kings will be without defencemen Sean Walker and Matt Roy, as both were injured in their game against the Wild.
Roy suffered an upper-body injury following a hit committed by Wild forward Kevin Fiala, which led to a major penalty. Fiala has not faced supplemental discipline for the play. Roy left the game in the second period and never returned, as he was down on the ice for a prolonged period of time. He is expected to be week-to-week.
Being without Roy will be a tough loss for the Kings. He was voted the team’s best defenceman by their media last season. This year, through eight games, Roy has zero goals and three assists for three points. While he may not be the flashiest of players, Roy consistently makes the right play and is very reliable for the team. At even strength, he has a Corsi of 49.54 this season. He also has a GF% of 57.14 percent and an xG% of 53.91 percent.
From what I’m hearing, LA Kings are viewing Matt Roy as week to week.
They don’t need the roster spot, as of yet. That’s why he wasn’t placed on IR today.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) February 3, 2021
Walker also suffered an upper-body injury after taking a Mathew Dumba slap-shot to the face in the third period. He immediately left the ice and went down the locker room tunnel. He is expected to be out for two to four weeks.
Hearing Kings defenseman Sean Walker is to have surgery on his nose, and is expected to be out two to four weeks. Walker took a slapshot to the face from Wild defenseman Matt Dumba in the third period on Thursday in Minnesota.
— lisa dillman (@reallisa) February 3, 2021
Like Roy, Walker is one of the Kings better defencemen. He is a smooth-skating offensive defenceman and has been quarterbacking the Kings’ second powerplay unit this season. Through seven games, Walker has zero goals and two assists for two points. At even strength, he has a Corsi of 43.29 percent. This should be taken with a grain of salt, however, as Walker’s main partner has been Kurtis MacDermid, who has been subpar, to say the least.
Losing these two players could be a detrimental loss to the Kings. It will certainly cause a shuffling of their defensive corps as well. The Kings next men up will likely be right-hander Mark Alt, and left-hander Olli Maatta. Their adjusted defensive pairings could look something like this:
Prospect Tobias Bjornfot will also likely get into the lineup for a few games, as he played some in the NHL towards the beginning of the 2019-20 season. Due to his versatility, Kale Clague is capable of playing both the right and left sides despite being a left-shot. He played on the right frequently with the Ontario Reign last year.
If the Kings want to continue with some of that Reign familiarity, another option would be to move Maatta back to the top-pair with Doughty and ice an Anderson – Clague pairing. That would look something like this:
Olli Maatta – Drew Doughty
Mikey Anderson – Kale Clague
Kurtis MacDermid – Mark Alt
Regardless of the line combinations, the Los Angeles Kings depth will have to show up with Matt Roy and Sean Walker injured.
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