Manor Arvidsson, Lizotte, Turcotte Updates; Kings Roster Decision Looming

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Very little has come easy for the Kings this season. Challenges started to appear just before opening night, when GM Rob Blake announced forward Viktor Arvidsson would be out of the lineup for several months due to needing a second back surgery in less than two years.

Like almost every other bit of news during LA’s 2023-24 campaign, it was a mixed bag of information. On one hand, the team was losing one of their most dynamic offensive weapons, a guy who scored 26 goals and added 33 assists last season. He was also their only real remaining right-handed threat on the power play after several off-season roster moves.

On the other hand, the situation wasn’t related to Arvidsson’s previous surgery that kept him out of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs — so that was a good sign. Plus, it would actually give the organization some much needed cap room for several months.

Since returning last week against the New Jersey Devils, Arvidsson had played three solid games and had not been on the ice for a single goal against. In fact, the Kings largely looked like a different team with him in the lineup. Things were turning a positive corner, right?

Well, not so fast.

Just 17 seconds into Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jackets — Arvidsson’s first home game of the season — something looked terribly wrong. He circled behind the net shortly after the opening faceoff, where a few guys were battling for the puck; and it was obvious things weren’t right with the 30-year-old winger. He essentially bypassed the play and headed straight to the bench.

Later in the game, Kings PR announced he would not return due to a lower body injury.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Arvidsson’s status remains TBD. Mayor’s Manor has learned that he was going through additional imaging to further clarify the injury situation, which would then lead to a recommended course of treatment. This will ultimately determine how long he is sidelined, as well. More information is expected to be available on Thursday.

Additionally, we have more Kings roster tidbits to pass along. According to our sources, Blake Lizotte is expected to return to action on Thursday against the visiting Nashville Predators. Lizotte has been sidelined with a lower body injury since Jan. 15 at Carolina.

He is currently on Long Term Injured Reserve (LTIR). However, as we noted last week, that was really more of a clerical move than anything else. He has missed the required 10 games and 24 days, so he’s eligible to be activated as soon as he’s medically cleared.

What comes next involves a little more math, though.

Per Puck Pedia, by sending Jordan Spence to AHL Ontario on Wednesday, the Kings now have $1,689,188 in available cap space. They would need $1,675,000 to activate Lizotte. So… they just barely have enough.

As we understand things after talking with people connected with team management, a decision will be made tomorrow regarding which player will be on the NHL roster tomorrow night — either Alex Turcotte or Jordan Spence.

The team won’t have enough cap space to keep both.

Just last week, the prevailing thought was that Turcotte would be sent down once Lizotte was healthy enough to play. Once again, an unexpected wrench was thrown into the process — Carl Grundstrom was injured and then moved to LTIR.

Now, unless Arvidsson is moved to LTIR (again, that’s still a TBD discussion), we’re told the Kings will need to decide who they want playing. Some will look at Turcotte’s three points in his eight games played and surmise that he hasn’t made much of an impact. However, it should also be pointed out that he has not been a minus player for any of those games. He’s carried an even-rating and six of them and was a plus player in the other two game, including on Tuesday vs. Columbus. In last night’s game, he also saw 8:36 of ice time, his third-most since being called up. Coach Jim Hiller clearly had no problem increasing his contribution once Arvidsson went down early in the game. Additionally, Turcotte picked up an assist after getting the puck to Quinton Byfield, who dished off to PL Dubois for his second goal of the game.

If Hiller and the coaching staff would rather have a seventh defenseman for insurance, the Kings will need to return Turcotte to AHL Ontario (which can be done without waivers). At that point, they’ll have enough cap room to either recall Spence or Jacob Moverare.

Of course, if the Arvidsson situation takes a turn for the worse — meaning LTIR instead of regular IR (where the contract money counts toward the cap) — it has two impacts on what Blake does. First, it gives the team enough cap room to make any roster decision they want. More importantly, it likely changes his focus heading into next month’s Trade Deadline, as they would have a hole to fill in their top-6. Giving more playing time to Turcotte or even Arthur Kaliyev sounds great on the surface, yet neither would likely have the immediate impact Arvidsson could be expected to deliver.

More to come tomorrow.

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