Day 10 Practice Notes – Peterson/Byfield Update + Durzi on Contract, Walker on Left

Good afternoon, industry insiders!

The Kings are back on the ice in El Segundo today in preparation for their first preseason game in Los Angeles, tomorrow night against the Anaheim Ducks.

First, some updates starting today.

Cal Petersen rejoined the group today for the first time since Monday. Peterson made his preseason debut Monday night against the Las Vegas Golden Knights, though he left the game 20 minutes later with a lower extremity injury. Peterson was tagged by Todd McClellan every day, and we actually saw him on the ice five days later. The goalie doesn’t have a “non-contact jersey,” as we’ve seen with the skater, although we can estimate that Peterson would have loosened up a little bit if he picked up the pace.

Quinton Byfield, on the other hand, missed practice for the second day in a row due to illness, as he does every day at this point. Rasmus Kupari appeared to take most of the sprint on the line yesterday, and did so again today, albeit with 14 forwards with a lot of mixing and matching between strikers.

In the end, the Kings opted to trade the defensive duo of Tobias Bjornford/Brant Clark and Jacob Movilar/Jordan Spencer. The former is skating in Group A today, while the latter is skating in Group B, which is a reversal of yesterday. Frankly, it’s not a story. From what we’ve seen at past McClellan camps, it’s not out of the ordinary, which happened in every camp McClellan ran with the then-Kings. As we get closer to the final roster, a similar shakeup of the roster bubble isn’t surprising.

How it all vibrates is the following alignment –

Group A
Kevin Fiala – Anze Kopitar – Adrian Kempe
Trevor Moore – Phillip Danault – Gabe Vilardi – Viktor Arvidsson (Ed)
Alex Ifalo – Rasmus Kupari – Arthur Kaliyev
Brendan Lemieux – Blake Lizotte – Carl Grundstrom – Jaret Anderson-Dolan

Mitch Anderson – Drew Doughty
Sean Walker – Matt Roy
Alex Edler – Sean Durzi
Jacob Movilare – Jordan Spencer

Jonathan Quick
Carl Peterson
David Herenak

Group B
Lias Andersson – TJ Tynan – Samuel Fagemo
Martin Chromiak – Aidan Dudas – Taylor Ward
Justin Nachbaur – Samuel Helenius – Jacob Doty
Alan Quinn – Aguirre Thomas – Tyler Madden
Austin Wagner – Nate Thompson

Tobias Bjornfot – Brant Clark
Tobie Bisson – Helge Grans
Kim Nousiainen – Frederick Allard
Cameron Gance – Cameron Supreka

Matthew Villata
Phoenix Copley

Photo by Jeff Botari/NHLI via Getty Images

Trading Durzi
Earlier today, I shared a story about Sean Dulzie’s summer rehab, his process, and where he’s going into training camp. See here for the story.

However, Dulzie also touched on another interesting element of his summer, which was his first free agency as an NHL player. Negotiations continued through September, but Dulzie finally signed a two-year extension with the Kings, which capped him at $1.7 million and had plenty of time before training camp began last week.

Speaking with Mitch Anderson earlier in the summer, he said he would prefer to essentially separate himself from contract negotiations and listen to his agent until things get closer. That’s in stark contrast to what Drew Doughty, who negotiated on his own behalf, said he was awarded a long-term contract on his time. Dulzie certainly leaned more toward Anderson’s ending, noting that he doesn’t have the resume of walking in and negotiating his own deal as Doughty.

“Yeah, I mean, I don’t have Norris and two cups, I can’t just walk into Blakey’s office and negotiate with myself,” he said with a laugh. “I also have a great team around me for that.”

Perhaps Dulzie’s biggest problem this summer is that not only is he a restricted free agent, but he’s still recovering from shoulder surgery.

He made it clear to his representatives that his priority was on his shoulders, and in most cases, he did not want to be involved in contract negotiations.

“Going into the summer with a shoulder on my shoulders, I made it clear that I wanted to focus on this, focus on improving myself,” he said. “I don’t know how long it usually takes, you see players signing in the league and you say, ‘When are we going to get it done’, but it’s a process. You see the business of things for the first time in your career On the one hand, I have a good enough team that they allow me to focus on myself, on things that I can control and let them handle that side of things.”

The end result of that process was a two-year deal that made him a restricted free agent in the team’s final moments. Many refer to this as a transition contract.

For Dulzie, the deal gives him two seasons of protection and the opportunity to bet on himself in those two seasons. If he breaks out, he should get a bigger contract next time, and he’s not locking himself into a cap that only considers one season of production. It also represented a nice raise in the interim. For the Kings, the deal is a cap over a manageable cap in transition for a key player from last season, but for a player with only one proven NHL season. This takes that production season into account, but doesn’t tie the team to around one production season long-term.

When discussing the process, Durzi said several different things were discussed, including deadlines and caps, and eventually the two sides agreed on a two-year deal.

“There are a lot of options that you can remove from the list,” he said. “When you’re negotiating a contract, it’s not really a deal, you’re already negotiating. It’s the jargon, the money, all those things, and that’s the first time I realised it’s such a discussion. Like I said, I’m not Drew Doughty, and I can’t just walk in and ask whatever I want. It’s a process, there are so many different options on the table, and I’m very happy with the work we’ve done.”

take this road (if leave this road)
We’ve seen defenseman Sean Walker play on the left side for most of training camp so far.

With a horde of up-and-coming players on the right flank, Jordan Spencer and Brant Clark following last season under Dulzie, the Kings find themselves facing a big problem as Sean Walker and Drew Doughty was injured. The first solution, as Rob Blake has hinted at since the beginning of the summer, is to move one of the players to the left. That player was Walker early in training camp, and he was the most experienced player in that role.

“Those guys came in and did a fantastic job, and they earned their retention, so that’s good for us,” Walker said. “The left side is nothing new to me, Royzie and I were actually in Ontario together and I was on the left side of Ontario, so it wasn’t new to me. It was just about representing and re-fitting it, just Like everything now.”

The Kings didn’t ask for Walker to move from the right side of the blue line to the left flank or anything like that.

It’s still defending, just on the other side of the ice, in the role he’s played before. For example, in the offensive zone, when he walks the blue line, it creates a new perspective as he is moving towards his forehand rather than pulling the ball with him or skating with his backhand. Other areas of the ice have changed differently, but these are things he is working on and continues to improve.

“Some aspects of it, one is the o-zone, I feel more comfortable walking down the wall,” he said. “In the neutral zone, you have to deal with a few different aspects to play the right game on the opposite side. We’ll find some things along the way, but I think it’s a really good opportunity for us to play at the back. A real success on the end.”

We’ve seen Walker on the left at both the AHL and NHL levels in the past. As Walker puts it, he played left wing in his rookie season in the AHL, when he and Roy were both playing their first pro careers. We also saw him in the 2020-21 season with the Kings.

The move is usually based more on opportunity and necessity than anything else, and in this regard, the former is more of the former than the latter. Last season, the Kings had a fairly healthy balance of left and right shots, usually three-pointers per shot. However, we do see that when players are injured, changes need to be made, which forces players to do it.

Speaking with assistant coach Trent Yawney, it was a comforting question when asked to assess who would fill the role.

“Not everyone likes to play [their off side] I only care about comfort, I don’t want to put the players in a losing situation,” he said. “If they don’t like to play on their wing, I won’t let him play on the wing. With Vaux, this is my fourth year here, and he’s shown the ability to play on both sides without compromising too much. Durz is another person who has become that character. You have to play the cards you get, and that’s what we have in our organization. “

Both Yawney and Walker spoke about the fact that the presence of others on the right made such a move an option, and both agreed that it would be a good thing for the organization.

With more options, they can shoot right on the blue line, starting with finding the right fit. As Yawney added, Walker isn’t the only defender playing offside around the NHL, there are plenty of players who even prefer it. As long as the player is comfortable and it’s working, stick with it.

“We have too many right-handed defenders, which is not a bad thing,” Yawney added. “If someone’s going to play on the left, make sure you get the right guy and make sure he’s paired with the right guy and vice versa. There’s a lot of guys playing on their side, like I said, it’s more It’s for comfort. For some people, it doesn’t feel right, and you notice it right away, so I usually pull the plug pretty quickly.”

We’ve now spoken to Yawney and Jim Hiller over the past 24 hours, and as we’ve been through training camp for a week and a half, we’ve also provided some insight into the free throws and power play, respectively, in addition to those two players. units and how they adapt early. There is more on both of these, probably starting with an article on the PK unit and ending up in Game of Thrones, which is the focus of today’s exercise.

The Kings return to preseason games tomorrow night as they host the Ducks in Game 1 of the 2022 exhibition season at the Arena. The ice hockey drops at 6 pm.

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