Rumors Kings Recall Akil Thomas, Place Alex Turcotte On LTIR


They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
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The Kings announced they’ve recalled center Akil Thomas from AHL Ontario. To create cap space, Alex Turcotte was placed on long-term injured reserve, keeping him out until the last week of the regular season.

Turcotte hasn’t played since March 19 due to an upper-body injury, and he isn’t with the team on their four-game road swing, which began last week. Assuming his LTIR placement is retroactive to the date of the injury, he’ll satisfy the 24-day, 10-game absence requirements in a week and a half’s time and will be eligible to return on April 13 against the Ducks, the 80th game of L.A.’s season.

The injury is another difficult setback for Turcotte, who was amid his first extended stint in the majors since being selected fifth overall by the Kings at the 2019 draft. He’s remained on the NHL roster since a Feb. 8 recall, aside from a one-day loan to Ontario on trade deadline day to make him eligible to play in the minors down the stretch. The 23-year-old has played in a career-high 20 games, recording his first NHL points with a goal and three assists. While he saw limited time at even-strength up in the lineup alongside Anže Kopitar, his overall ice time has been limited at 9:16 per game.

L.A. has lost its grip on a divisional playoff spot thanks to a recent hot stretch from the Golden Knights, slipping to fourth in the Pacific Division and occupying the second wild-card spot in the West. Still, they have a solid five-point cushion on the Blues and have only a 3.1% chance of slipping out of a playoff spot entirely, per MoneyPuck. They’ve yet to carry a fully healthy forward group all season with Viktor Arvidsson, Carl Grundström and Blake Lizotte all missing double-digit games, and their offense has suffered as a result, dropping to 16th in the league in goals scored after finishing ninth last year. Those injuries have provided a chance for players like Turcotte and Alex Laferriere, who’s played in all but one game this season, to log NHL time.

Thomas now gets a similar chance to Turcotte, as he could make his NHL debut against the Jets on Monday and allow the Kings to dress 12 forwards with Phillip Danault (upper-body, day-to-day) also sidelined. The Kings selected Thomas, now 24, in the second round of the 2018 draft. This is the first recall of his professional career and comes under emergency conditions, per CapFriendly.

After passing through waivers during training camp and missing most of last season with injuries, Thomas has broken out for a career-high 22 goals, 21 assists and 43 points in 61 games with Ontario. The former OHL All-Rookie Team member with the Niagara IceDogs and World Juniors hero with Canada in 2020 has had a rocky development path over the past few years, with injuries and COVID keeping him from playing more than 40 games in a season since turning pro. He signed a one-year, two-way ($775K/$100K) extension to remain in Los Angeles after his entry-level contract expired last summer and will be an RFA at the end of the season.

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