Jeff Carter in a walking boot.
Yes, the Kings have been there before with Carter, but the timing was much worse. It wasn't the first month of the season, like this time. Only a few games remained before the playoffs in 2012 when Carter suffered a deep bone bruise in his ankle.
The players arrived at practice Friday morning, and that's when they found out about Carter and saw him wearing the boot. The Kings are expected to place Carter on injured reserve with a lower-body injury and officially call up youngsters Tyler Toffoli and Linden Vey from their American Hockey League minor-league affiliate in Manchester, N.H. They were not in the lineup for the Monarchs game Friday night at Providence, R.I.
"It's definitely a loss for us," Kings center Anze Kopitar said of Carter. "That's the way it is. We're going to have to find a way to score goals, put up points and win hockey games. So, with him or without him, we're going to have to do that. But it's certainly a loss."
The versatile Carter has nine points in 14 games and is tied for the team's goal-scoring lead with Justin Williams with five. Kopitar was asked if he felt an extra burden in Carter's absence.
"No, I don't think so," he said. "We have the confidence of everybody in here to pick up whatever needs to be picked up. Personally, go out there and do the same stuff over and over again. That's all I can do and that's all everyone else can do."
Carter was hurt in Wednesday's overtime victory against the San Jose Sharks. One of his teammates thought the injury occurred when he was hit by a shot from another King player. The Kings did not practice Thursday.
The Kings' depth and versatility often has been tested. Last season, it was the defense getting hit hard with injuries.
"He has been a key part of our team since he's been here," said Kings captain Dustin Brown of Carter. "Again, it's an opportunity for other guys to step up, whether it's offensively or on the" penalty kill.
"There are just more minutes. Again, I think that's the strength of our team. We've played without Rick [Richards]. We've played without Kopi. It's just a matter of having the depth to battle through it."
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter was visibly annoyed at the questions about Carter, saying he was "disappointed" that information got out before it was "given to us." Still, players had seen Carter in the walking boot before practice started.
Additionally, Kings defenseman Keaton Ellerby was put on waivers Friday morning. There is a good chance he could land with another team, but if he clears waivers Saturday, he would join Manchester. Ellerby has not appeared in a game this season.
Toffoli played in 10 regular-season games with the Kings in 2012-13, and Vey could make his NHL debut against Nashville on Saturday. Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi has been scouting the kids in depth and praised linemates Vey, Toffoli and left winger Tanner Pearson.
"They are all playing well — the other two have a little more seniority now," Lombardi said via email Friday.
Lombardi watched Manchester play at Providence on Friday night, and Pearson scored in the first 25 seconds.
Where: Staples Center.
On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 1150.
Record vs. Predators: 1-0.
Etc.: This will be the second game of a seven-game trip for Nashville, which lost to the Kings in a shootout Oct. 17. Rookie defenseman Seth Jones, who has two goals and six points in 13 games, is averaging just over 25 minutes per game of ice time.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun