Mitchell, Ponikarovsky Out With Broken Stuff

The last "Faces of Willie Mitchell" we're going to have for a while. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Willie Mitchell

Willie Mitchell has a broken wrist, out 4-6 weeks.

Alexei Ponikarovsky has a broken finger, out a month.

Fuck.

In the near-term, this is pretty, pretty bad for the Kings. Neither Mitchell nor Poni were lighting up the stat sheet but they were both providing a physical presence and playing good defense. The Kings lose a lot of size, a lot of grit and a lot of experience with those two out. They're going to have to replace them with youth.

With Mitchell out...

The Kings probably call up Jake Muzzin. The Kings moved Davis Drewiske up alongside Drew Doughty when Mitchell initially got hurt on Saturday against the Predators but I doubt that's a long-term solution. The Kings have a clear top-4: Doughty, Rob Scuderi, Jack Johnson, and Matt Greene. Terry Murray seems to err on the side of caution with his defensive pairings so I see him trying Johnson-Doughty with Scuderi-Greene as a safety net. Scuderi can jump up with Johnson occasionally while Drewiske takes a shift with Doughty.

Johnson-Doughty

Scuderi-Greene

Drewiske-Muzzin


With Poni out...

The Kings probably keep Kyle Clifford. Brad Richardson will most likely get the biggest jump in playing time, hopping up alongside Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds in Poni's place. There is a chance, though, that the Kings use Clifford in that role, as he looked best when he replaced Meat Train after Meat got kicked out of the Colorado game. I can see a Clifford-Handzus-Simmonds line working well, with Richardson hopping up to give the line a different look later in the game.

Parse-Kopitar-Brown

Smyth-Stoll-Williams

Clifford-Handzus-Meat Train

Richardson-Schenn-Westgarth

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