Daily News Kings’ Adrian Kempe expected back this season, but no timetable given


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Adrian Kempe, the Kings’ leading scorer, won’t miss the rest of the season with the upper-body injury he sustained Monday in Edmonton, as reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger on Thursday.

Kempe, who has 51 points in 57 games, has paced the team in goals in each of the past two campaigns.

While the Kings themselves have been mum on Kempe and vague about the timetables for their other injured skaters, Dreger posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday that Kempe and company would not be out for the entire season.

“Kempe is listed week to week. He’s expected to return at some point in March with the other injured Kings players,” Dreger wrote. “So, {Kings) GM Rob Blake won’t have cap relief to work with leading up to the trade deadline.”

The Kings are millimeters from the salary cap ceiling when healthy, even with a short roster. But if the injuries were to linger until the playoffs they could potentially load up at the trade deadline (which is next Friday) and then play over the cap in the postseason, as franchises like the Vegas Golden Knights and Tampa Bay Lightning have done in recent years.

Presently, Viktor Arvidsson (lower-body) and Carl Grundstrom (lower-body) are on long-term injured reserve, leaving the Kings without three Swedish wingers, two of whom played in their top six and on the power play.

“Teams know, for sure, that we’re missing a lot of guys, but it’s not an excuse. We’ve got so many talented players, we can fill out some spots,” Phillip Danault said after the Kings’ second consecutive 4-2 loss on Tuesday.

Arvidsson missed the first 50 games this season after undergoing his second back surgery in 18 months and played just three games before exiting abruptly 17 seconds into his fourth contest of 2023-24. Kings coach Jim Hiller expressed optimism if not confidence that Arvidsson could be back before the end of the regular season.

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“I mean, he’s week-to-week,” Hiller said. “You never know how things progress. We’ll just see how it goes.”

Top-pairing defenseman Mikey Anderson also carried the week-to-week designation. He was placed on garden variety IR (upper-body), while goalie Pheonix Copley (knee) will miss the rest of the season. Hiller said Anderson’s presence and intangibles would be missed, along with his quantifiable contributions.

“On the ice, that carries over. Honest player, shot blocker, does all the little things, that dirty work that sometimes goes unnoticed. We’ll miss him in so many areas,” Hiller said.

The remaining able-bodied Kings will kick off a five-game homestand against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday as they seek to solidify their playoff position.

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