There may not be much concern surrounding the Los Angeles Kings. After all, the team just clinched a playoff spot for the fifth-straight year earlier this week and regardless of how the rest of the regular-season schedule goes, will finish third in the Pacific Division. With that, the silver-and-black certainly do have a luxury some teams would love to have right now. But en route to their Thursday-night loss in San Jose, fans of the Kings held their collective breaths when defenseman Drew Doughty left the game with an upper-body injury.
Doughty exited Thursday's game in the first period after a routine collision with San Jose's Tyler Kennedy. On the replay, there was nothing out of the ordinary but the blueliner obviously felt bad enough where he was unable to return to the game. However, Drew Doughty did accompany his team to Vancouver following the loss so that has to be a good sign. Well, at the very least, it's not a bad sign, right?
Nevertheless, with Doughty's status uncertain, the Kings made some minor roster moves.
First, in a salary-cap-related move, Linden Vey has been loaned to the Ontario Reign of the ECHL. Vey, who was just called up by the Kings this week, won't be expected to suit up for the Reign but has been assigned on paper to the East Coast League until the cap issue gets sorted out.
Second, the Kings called up defenseman Andrew Campbell from Manchester, most likely to fill the temporary void left by Doughty.
While he has appeared in a few preseason games, Campbell has yet to appear in a regular-season game for the Kings - and that could change on Saturday night in Vancouver.
While Doughty's injury has left many fans worried, this is simply a chance for the Los Angeles Kings to show off their skill at developing young defensemen. We are seeing how it's benefited Slava Voynov, Alec Martinez and even Jake Muzzin. Now, it's time to see what Andrew Campbell can bring to the table.
In 68 games this season, the Manchester Monarchs captain has scored three goals, added 13 assists and accumulated a +17 rating.
This is the 26-year-old's sixth season with the Monarchs after being drafted in the third round of the 2008 Draft. His first couple years in Manchester may have been decent but he finished both seasons with -15 and -16 ratings respectively. In the four years since then, however, Campbell has averaged a rating of +14.5. While his three goals this season match a career-high from his rookie campaign, the native of Caledonia, Ontario has averaged just under 11 assists per season. Of course, while his name only appears on the scoresheet every so often, Campbell's defensive game makes up for it. In addition, the Manchester captain is not only very likeable but also very reliable. Outside of a 2012-13 campaign that limited him to just 47 games, the 6'4, 206-pounder has averaged just over 73 games per season with the Monarchs.
With his aforementioned size in tow, Andrew Campbell will certainly fit in with the big club's defensive unit that averages 6-foot-2 and just over 213 pounds.
While it is both unfortunate and untimely for Drew Doughty to go down with an injury, this is a golden opportunity for someone like Andrew Campbell to show what he's made of. The circumstances may not be the greatest but what better time for the big defenseman to make his NHL debut than during Los Angeles's final playoff push?
While fans and the Kings themselves hoping that Drew Doughty won't be sidelined for a significant amount of time, they must make the most of an unfortunate situation in the mean time. If Andrew Campbell fits in with the Kings, the team will only be left with a dilemma most teams around the league would give their proverbial right arms to have.