Forward Jeff Carter, who shares the Kings’ goal-scoring lead with five goals, was placed on injured reserve Friday morning because of a lower-body injury.
He’s expected to be out for at least a week, and possibly longer. The NHL does not require teams to be specific when announcing injuries. Carter, who has been playing center most of this season but has also played on the wing, led the Kings in goals last season with 26 in 48 games and ranked second in team scoring with 33 points.
The Kings also placed defenseman Keaton Ellerby on waivers and were expected to recall right wing Tyler Toffoli and center Linden Vey from Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League. General Manager Dean Lombardi has been watching top prospects for several days.
Because of salary-cap and roster considerations, it’s possible that Toffoli and Vey will first be moved — at least on paper — from the roster of the Manchester Monarchs to Ontario of the ECHL before they’re formally added to the Kings’ roster. The Kings have used that procedure in the past.
Toffoli had seven goals and 12 points in the Monarchs’ first 10 games. Vey had three goals and 11 points. During training camp, Kings Coach Darryl Sutter had considered switching Toffoli, a right-handed shot, to the left wing to fill the Kings’ urgent need for scoring from that side but later decided to leave Toffoli on the right side to keep the player from having to learn a new position.
If Ellerby clears waivers, it is expected he would head to Manchester. The defenseman was in Los Angeles as insurance because club executives weren’t sure how Willie Mitchell would fare after having missed all of last season because of knee problems.
The same concern was in play for defenseman Matt Greene, who missed almost all of last season because of back surgery. However, Mitchell and Greene have been durable this season, playing in crucial situations and performing well.
Lombardi has been scouting players on the Kings’ Manchester farm team extensively and is scheduled to watch the Monarchs again. Members of the Kings’ organization had said during training camp that promising prospects Toffoli, Vey and left wing Tanner Pearson would be in the NHL at some point, and it was just a question of when.