Day 6 Notes – Injury Updates + Chance Grundstrom, Anderson Debut & Kempe Joins ATKM

Good evening, insiders!

The approach here changed when we got to the sixth day of bootcamp. While nothing has been set in stone, and we expect to see specific players hopping up and down between Group A and Group B, today was our first real look at the true split between NHL target players and AHL target players. Group B consisted of five lines and nine defenders, all players who would at least be expected to compete for a place on the roster full-time.

Today’s first set consisted of a preview of what we could see on opening night, with four lines we’ve seen used fairly consistently during bootcamp. The Defenders didn’t necessarily adhere to a strict structure in terms of mating, with nine Defenders on the ice, but we did see nine healthy Defenders with a visible path to the opening night roster.

linked here The group that took the ice today for the sixth day.

For those not on that list, or those who got injured during training camp, Philippe Danault is now 100 per cent healthy and will make his pre-season debut tomorrow against San Jose. Danault had a little muscle problem on the first day of boot camp, he missed one of his skis and got back from there right away. It’s good to go. While speaking with Danault that day, the injury was very minor and he’s back on track in his first game of the show’s season.

In regards to the others, Cal Petersen could be considered a “day by day” at this point, while Sean Durzi is “close” to joining the full camp ski group. Viktor Arvidsson continues to advance on his own schedule, while Alex Turcotte is also back on the ice and working on getting back to work.

“Cal had treatments today, we don’t think it’s a serious thing, but it’s clearly something we don’t want to mess with, it will be day in and day out,” McClellan said. “We’re not expecting a long injury, but who knows….Dorze is getting close to joining our group, I suppose, and he’s starting to extend his rehab into more contact. Arvidson is doing really well, still some time and Turcot is working hard to get back.” He’s feeling better.”

quest karl
Karl Grundstrom has played NHL games for the Now Kings in four consecutive seasons, dating back to his debut with the club in 2018.

Acquired on Deadline Trade from Toronto in January of that year, Grundstrom quickly advanced through the AHL ranks with Ontario to his NHL debut in March. He’s continued to play every season since then, but one thing he’s never done is have him among the 12 forwards in the squad on opening night.

It looks like that will change. Grundstrom was given a regular spot on a streak with Blake Lizotte and Brendan Lemieux here early in training camp, paving the way for Grundstrom to snap up his streak and pick him for this squad in the first game.

“I want to play every game, that’s my goal for this year,” he said earlier today. “That is the goal at least, to prove that I can play in every game. Playing in the playoffs was a great experience and I will take a lot of that confidence with me this season.”

This 82-game goal kicks off with Game 1 and it looks like Grundstrom is ready for the challenge.

Grundstrom put in some very useful minutes during 2022 after the 2022 season, scoring three times out of six games he played, often finding himself in the top six. He has that ability to score goals, and he has demonstrated a range of offensive skills in the AHL, but he’s also capable of playing sandpaper style in hockey, blending hard work with fitness in a straightforward approach to the game.

McLellan has seen Grundstrom grow during each of his four training camps now with the Kings, with a rethink of the unfinished product he inherited in 2019.

“In my opinion, it has grown every year,” said coach Todd McClellan. “There was a really early time, maybe three or four years ago, where I think he was very confident but maybe he didn’t have all the tools to show that. Then, it’s hard to get it back sometimes.”

McClellan noted Grundstrom’s success in the high-pressure environment that the playoffs brought last season. He’s also seen growth and development from Grundstrom every year and trained here with the Kings.

Usually, when Grundstrom was out of last season’s squad, it happened in circumstances beyond the players’ control. At least at the start of the season, that could change for the 24-year-old winger, and it is likely that he will be along with Lizzott and Lemieux.

“I think he’s getting better every year, he’s shown he’s very capable of playing in high pressure situations, in the playoffs last year,” McClellan said. “Even before that, yes, he was not in the squad for two nights but there were other reasons for that. We think he can be a full-time player and be an effective full-time player.”

Later this week, we’ll take a deeper look at Lemieux, Lizotte and Grundstrom’s streak, including the three players’ thoughts on their playing style, how they’re similar to each other and their expectations for this season. As we saw last season, an efficient and lively fourth streak can go a long way, spurred on by the well-established pairing between Lizotte and Lemieux.

Open Mickey Knight
Last season saw the debut of several players, including defender Mickey Anderson.

Yesterday evening in Las Vegas, Anderson partnered with young Jordan Spence, who ended up as the time leader on the ice in the game with over 25 minutes. In many ways, Anderson feels like the perfect partner for many of the young defenders on the team, with his responsibility and mentality, although first and foremost, he has proven to be an excellent complement to Drew Doughty in the team’s top defensive duo. As we get closer to the season, and the roster begins to take a more pronounced shape, it’s likely that Anderson will end up.

But last night, it was Anderson’s first pre-season test as he prepares for opening night.

“It’s always hard to come back to it, after the first period you feel a little bit more comfortable,” Anderson said of his pre-season debut. “It’s good to go back to mass murder, real life, game-like situations rather than just playing in melees. It’s more contact, more fitness, so it’s nice.”

Anderson is an important part of the death sentence, as he mentioned, and one sequence in particular stood out to me as an observer while the man was falling. Faced with a dump and a heavy foreclosure check, Anderson and Spence performed two passes that broke the pressure and gave the Kings an easy, icy-free run. Small play in the pre-season competition, but an effective penalty kill is the one that can block selected entries and get a quick clear. Good moment early.

That’s a lot for Game 1.

Anderson discussed focus points from the first game and back to the pace of the game, while also talking about the goal of trying to add more insult to his game. The former was definitely accomplished against the Golden Knights and he is confident he can help with the latter as well.

“The first game is usually hard to feel right away, it’s trying to get back to the speed of the game, but since last year I’ve been trying to add more insult,” Anderson said. “I want to find more ways to be active and contribute if I can, I’ve done that before in the past, so I’m trying to bring that back into my game a bit if I’m able.”

juice podcast
Finally, an extended interview with striker Adrian Quimby, who joined the All The Kings Men podcast for an episode that dropped yesterday morning. Kembe is entering a training camp with new expectations, after a season of 35 goals and a new four-year contract with the Kings, and he is determined to follow his success with another strong season.

We got our first glimpse of the man they call Juice in last night’s show win over Vegas, with Kempe scoring the overtime winning goal in a Power Play game. The full interview is available below –

Later today, Ontario Reign contributor Jared Shafran will get an update on the upcoming feedback from players who played for AHL’s Reign in their impending pre-season game tomorrow night at Toyota Arena. While the game’s collection has yet to be finalized, many players who are Reign alumni will dress up as Kings tomorrow in familiar territory. Come on your way in a few hours!

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