The Kings will be without defenseman Willie Mitchell and left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky for at least a month due to recent injuries. Mitchell has a broken left wrist and is expected to be out for four to six weeks and Ponikarovsky will miss at least four weeks with a broken finger. Both injuries were sustained during Saturday nights victory over the Nashville Predators.
Mitchell and Ponikarovsky are both playing their first seaons in Los Angeles as both were signed as offseason free agents to fill the holes left by Alexander Frolov and Sean O’Donnell. Los Angeles boast a record of 10-3-0 and are off to the club’s best start in 30 years. The Kings are also one of only two teams in the NHL, the other being the St. Louis Blues, with a perfect 6-0-0 record at home.
Mitchell has one goal, four assists and a plus-7 rating while playing in the Kings’ top defensive pairing with 2009/2010 Norris Trophy candidate Drew Doughty. With several injuries on the blue line this season, the Kings go-to-guy has been rookie Jake Muzzin, and i don’t expect this situation to be any different.
Ponikarovsky has two goals with two assists and is a plus-2 for Los Angeles thus far. His role as the third line wingers, opposite center Michael Hanzus and Wayne Simmonds, will be a much tougher role to replace. My suggestions would be Richardson, Clifford, or Lewis, in that order. Who would you use to fill in for Poni?