Manor Projected Lineups: LA Kings vs. Seattle Kraken; plus Danault Update


They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
Staff member

While it’s too early to call Wednesday’s home game a ‘must win’ for the LA Kings, time is ticking on the 2023-24 regular season. Coming off a disappointing 1-3 road trip, coach Jim Hiller will be looking to get things headed in the right direction again. And although the remaining eight games on their schedule lay up nicely on paper, the final stretch run begins with the Kings hosting a Kraken team that hasn’t exactly been an easy out thus far. It two previous matchups, LA dropped a 2-1 contest to Seattle and earned a 3-2 shootout victory.

Tonight should show a desperate Kings group. LA currently holds a playoff spot by just three points over a surging Blues team (7-2-1 in their last 10 games). Although, LA is still in full control of their destiny — including having a game in hand over St. Louis — there is a sense of urgency among many in the organization.

Losing games isn’t the real issue, it happens over the course of 82 games. The problem is more in how the Kings are losing games. They went up against two possible playoff opponents in Edmonton and Winnipeg and looked disinterested for large portions of both contests. There was a lack of detail, execution, and effort in what felt like every game on the most important road trip of the year. There’s really no other way to put it right now, Hiller needs the Kings to play better. Period.

How he chooses to deploy his players tonight will be interesting for a few reasons.

From LAK HC Jim Hiller on tonight's lineup:

Phil Danault: "We'll see."
Akil Thomas: "We'll see."
Carl Grundstrom will not be activated from LTIR.
Goalie also TBD but both will get a game v SEA and tomorrow in SJ.

— Dennis Bernstein (@DennisTFP) April 3, 2024

On the surface, Hiller didn’t offer much in the way of tipping his hand at morning skate, so let’s read between the lines and provide some context.

Phil Danault will be a game time decision, similar to Monday. What’s interesting is that neither forward Akil Thomas nor Jacob Moverare were returned to AHL Ontario today. With the Reign playing on Wednesday in Henderson, if there was confidence Danault would skate against the Kraken, one or both of those players would have likely rejoined Ontario.

At the very least, both will need to be sent down for cap purposes once Carl Grundstrom is ready to return (which is said to be imminent, just not for tonight’s game).

Could Grundstrom just be held out until the playoffs? Sure. It’s an option; it just doesn’t appear to be the plan.

Getting back to tonight, should Danault not be ready to go (and keeping the aforementioned players up in the NHL at least suggests it’s not a forgone conclusion No. 24 will be ready), there is a possibility Hiller returns to an 11+7 configuration tonight. In that case, we’d assume Thomas still plays and Arthur Kaliyev would most likely be scratched, leaving the Kings with 11 forwards:

Byfield – Kopitar – Kempe
Moore – Dubois – Arvidsson
Fiala – Lizotte – Lewis
Thomas – Laferriere

However, if Danault plays, that’s really when things become unclear. Would Hiller still go 11+7? In that scenario, Thomas is most likely a scratch.

If Danault does draw in and Hiller stays with the traditional 12+6 used last game, everybody sort of goes back to their ‘normal’ spots and Thomas plays at wing:

Byfield – Kopitar – Kempe
Moore – Danault – Arvidsson
Fiala – Dubois – Lewis
Thomas – Lizotte – Laferriere

Of late, Hiller has shown a propensity to heavily rely on his experienced veterans to take on more ice time. Players like Thomas, Kaliyev, etc. get an average of 1-2 shifts per period when they are in the lineup. One thing has been consistent all season, though — when the Kings can roll 11-12 forwards regularly and swiftly, they are at their best. On the contrary, when only nine forwards get the bulk of playing time, most outcomes haven’t been ideal.

Statistically Speaking

— Kevin Fiala has seven points (1G, 6A) in his last four games vs. Seattle, dating back to Nov. 29, 2022.

— Quinton Byfield’s plus-18 rating this season places second among all 2020 NHL Draftees, trailing only Carolina’s Seth Jarvis (plus-19).

— The Kings have points in 14 of their 20 matchups against Pacific Division opponents this season (10-6-4).

— LA captain Anze Kopitar had a goal Monday night in Winnipeg (his 26th of the season), and is now tied with Trevor Moore for the team lead in goals. With the marker against the Jets, Kopitar has now also recorded eight goals and 13 points (8G, 5A) over his last nine contests heading into tonight.

— Tonight’s matchup is the first game of the Kings’ eleventh set of back-to-back games this season. Prior to this set, the Kings are 12-7-3 in back-to-backs contests this season (9-1-1 in first game, 3-6-2 in second game).

Kings Projected Lineup vs. Kraken

Byfield – Kopitar – Kempe
Moore – Dubois – Arvidsson
Fiala – Lizotte – Lewis
Kaliyev – Thomas – Laferriere

NOTE: Danault will be a game time decision, lineup implications explained above

Anderson – Doughty
Gavrikov – Roy
Englund – Spence

Talbot (starter)

Likely healthy scratches: Danault, Moverare

Injured: Turcotte

LTIR: Copley, Grundstrom

Key Game Info

Puck drop is set for 6:30 pm Pacific Time and will be televised by Bally Sports.

For those live in attendance, the LA Kings Booster Club will offer their popular ‘Puck for a Buck’ contest — featuring Matt Roy for this game. Just $1 could win you an autographed puck from an NHL star. They’re also doing a $10 raffle for a signed purple and gold jersey of either Anze Kopitar or Drew Doughty. Visit their table outside sections 317-318 on the upper concourse for more information.

LA Royal Army, another fan support group, has a booth outside section 303. They do watch parties and other fun activities. Stop by and check them out.

Across the Ice

Seattle is coming off a 4-2 victory over San Jose on Monday.

Here’s how they lined up for that one:

Tolvanen – Beniers – Bjordkstrand
Schwartz – Wright – Eberle
Burakovsky – McCann. – Winterton
Tanev – Gourde – Kartye

Dunn – Larsson
Oleksiak – Borgen
Dumoulin – Evans


In their last 10 games, the Kraken are 3-6-1. As the away team, they’re 15-13-7 this season.

On This Day in Kings History

On April 3, 1995, the @LAKings retired #18 in honor of Dave Taylor. Taylor was the first player in #LAKings' history to appear in 1,000 games, and remains the highest scoring right wing in franchise history with 431 goals, 638 assists, and 1,069 points in 1,111 games.#GoKingsGo

— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) April 3, 2024


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