LOS ANGELES — Colin Fraser never saw himself being demoted to the minor leagues at age 29, but during the Olympic break in February, the Kings’ forward that has spent the better part of six season in the NHL suddenly found himself as the "old guy" on the team’s AHL team in Manchester.
"It’s funny, I think back to when I was 20 and I remember Shawn Thornton, he’s in Boston now but I thought he was an old guy and I think he was 28 maybe," Fraser said. "Here I am, I’m the old guy now, at least in the American (Hockey) League."
"Your career goes full circle: I’m 29 now and waiting for the call again and you never know when it’s going to happen," Fraser said Tuesday at the Staples Center following the team’s morning skate. "It kind of reminded me of when I was 20 years old waiting for the call and you can’t wait to get back up."
This season had not exactly been his most productive to date. In 33 games, he recorded only two assists and 30 penalty minutes. His role was somewhat minimal, averaging just under 10 minutes of ice time per game, but with the way the Sharks’ fourth line has nearly dismantled the team in its first two playoff games, the two-time Stanley Cup winner could add some fourth-line energy to counter that of the Sharks’.
"Obviously they’re combined third and fourth lines have been pretty key to their success so far," Fraser said. "I’ve been here long enough, you guys know what I bring and I’ve just got to try to do that, some physical and strong defense."
The move was preempted by forward Linden Vey’s reassignment to the Monarchs, a team currently in first place in the AHL and set to begin the Calder Cup playoffs Thursday, against the Norfolk Admirals, the Anaheim Ducks’ AHL affiliate.
Fraser played in only nine games with Manchester before breaking his hand while blocking a shot. After sitting out for five weeks, he played in Friday’s game against Providence and says his hand is fully healed.
In 10 games, he scored six points with a plus-3 rating.
It wasn’t an ideal situation, but Fraser isn’t the type of player to let it affect him and even said the experience was fun.
"I’ve been in the league here six years in a row and to be demoted, no one wants to get demoted, you know?" Fraser said. "But with that being said, it’s part of the business and part of the playing hockey too. You have to let it not get to you, hold your head high and that kind of thing and just work hard. I’m not a fold-the-tent kind of guy, I’m a positive kind of guy and it just is what it is and I’m going to work hard and still try to get back and I think that good things happen when you do that."