LA Kings: Todd McLellan says Walker and Roy out for “extended period”

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports) /

Speaking with the media on Sunday, LA Kings head coach Todd McLellan indicated Sean Walker and Matt Roy are out for an extended period.

Off the last two days, the LA Kings returned to Toyota Sports Performance Center for practice on Sunday afternoon. Among those skating was Martin Frk, who returned to the ice after missing the last couple of weeks with a lower-body injury. He replaced an under-the-weather Adrian Kempe on the team’s first line.

The Kings also called up Arthur Kaliyev to the team’s taxi squad. It will be interesting to see if the 33rd overall pick of the 2019 NHL Draft will see any games. As part of the corresponding move, the team sent fellow 2019 second-round pick Samuel Fagemo down to the Ontario Reign ahead of next Saturday’s season opener.

Of course, all eyes were on the defensive pairings when the line rushes were publicly made available. The Kings lost both Sean Walker and Matt Roy in the series finale against the Wild last Thursday. Both flew home with the team, but a timetable for return remained unknown.

And per head coach Todd McLellan, it sounds like the two will, at the very least, miss the Ducks game on Tuesday night.

“Walker and Roy are both out for an extended period,” McLellan said. “We’ll probably give you more of an update on their condition later in the week. And Kempe wasn’t feeling good today. He’s not in COVID protocol at all. He just didn’t feel good. And that’s our update.“

Mikey Anderson and Drew Doughty remained a constant on the top defensive pairing on Sunday. Below them, Kurtis MacDermid moved into the second pairing, with Kale Clague shifting to the right side. And Olli Maatta skated among the top-six defensemen for the first time since logging just over 11 minutes in the series finale against Colorado.

“Olli had a chance to reset,” McLellan explained. “Coming to a new organization is not easy. He got off to a bit of a rough start and had a chance to settle in, watch some games, be in some more meetings, and understand his positional role. He’s a veteran player – he knows how to do it. At times, I think he’s trying too hard to impress his new teammates and coaches.”

Maatta has yet to record a point in an LA Kings uniform, and while the offseason brought plenty of hype surrounding the pairing with Doughty, the latter enjoys playing with the 21-year-old Anderson. Despite mixed results on-ice, it appears the duo will continue the lead Kings’ defenders in minutes.

A natural left-shot defenseman, Clague has spent the majority of his professional career on the right side, initially paired with Alex Lintuniemi in Ontario. After Sean Walker was promoted to the NHL, Clague was bumped up to the team’s top pairing – oddly enough with Kurtis MacDermid – so it makes sense to pair the two while Walker and Roy are out of the lineup.

“Dermy [MacDermid] and I are comfortable,” Clague said to the media on Sunday. “I’m moving back to the right side. I’m comfortable there. And yeah, you know, we played together a little bit in Ontario. We have that familiarity, that chemistry. So yeah, it’s gonna be, there’ll be a smooth transition.”

Clague continued to elaborate on how he will make the most of this time.

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“This is gonna be a big opportunity for myself and the other guys in the room. Obviously, Walks [Walker] and Roysie [Roy] are two huge pieces of this team. And you know, we’re going to be missing them dearly. But yeah, I mean, this is a massive opportunity to step in and, you know, show that I’m ready to play full time and continue to continue to grow and progress my game.”