LA Kings: Team announces initial taxi squad for 2021 season

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports) /

The LA Kings announced their initial taxi squad roster to open the 2021 season. A couple of important notes regarding prospects also shook loose.

CapFriendly was the first to have the news, but the LA Kings taxi squad appears to be set, at least for the first few games. The NHL permitted teams to carry an additional 4-to-6 AHL-eligible players for the 2021 season.

Lias Andersson, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Austin Strand, and Matt Villalta will be with the NHL club. Villalta will serve as the team’s third goalie behind Jonathan Quick and Troy Grosenick, with Cal Petersen one of the five deemed “unfit to play” earlier this week. Once Petersen returns, Grosenick is expected to replace Villalta as the third goaltender, with the latter going back to the AHL.

With Walker and MacDermid both out until they clear NHL protocol, the LA Kings’ depth along the blue line looks thin. The duo has accounted for over 200 NHL games and could be replaced by Kale Clague and Mark Alt, who have significantly less experience — 22 games to be exact.

Tobias Bjornfot will likely serve as the team’s seventh defenseman, with Strand also in contention for some playing time.

Consistent with what head coach Todd McLellan has said to the media in training camp, Quinton Byfield and Arthur Kaliyev were both assigned to the Ontario Reign, for now. With the OHL’s season still in limbo, they need consistent playing time, so they were never serious taxi squad candidates. Of course, neither is old enough to play in the AHL under normal circumstances, but both players are likely to return to their respective teams if the OHL’s season begins.

Once the LA Kings get MacDermid and Walker back, expect another shakeup to the taxi squad roster.

The Opening Night lines should look something like this:


Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown
Athanasiou – Lizotte – Carter
Kempe – Vilardi – Wagner
Moore – Amadio – Luff
Extras: Grundstrom, Frk*

*injured and likely not available for Thursday


Maatta – Doughty
Anderson – Roy
Clague – Alt
Tobias Bjornfot

And once healthy, Alex Turcotte is expected to join Ontario as well.