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Injury to Carter will test Kings' depth, mettle

Adam Proteau
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Author: The Hockey News

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Injury to Carter will test Kings' depth, mettle

Adam Proteau
By:

The Los Angeles Kings will be without star forward Jeff Carter for a significant period of time with a lower body injury, and as long as he’s out of the lineup, the Kings will have a tremendous challenge in replacing him.

The Los Angeles Kings will be without star forward Jeff Carter for a significant period of time with what the team is calling a lower body injury, but it doesn’t matter what part of Carter’s body is hurting. As long as he’s out of the lineup, the Kings will have a tremendous challenge in replacing him.

Carter played more than 23 minutes on Wednesday, but teammate Anze Kopitar said Friday he saw Carter in a walking boot and that information ought to trouble anyone familiar with the player’s history of foot woes. The Kings were expected to place Carter on the injured reserve – and given where they are in the standings (in seventh place, only three points ahead of ninth-place Minnesota and four points ahead of 10th-place Nashville), they’re going to need other players to step up in all the areas in which Carter contributes, or face a quick and steep fall down the Western Conference ladder.

The 28-year-old Carter is L.A.’s top faceoff man (62.1 percent) and is tied for the team lead in scoring with five goals. He’s on the ice often in all special teams situations and is the only Kings player to have a power play and shorthanded goal this season. Good luck to coach Darryl Sutter on finding someone who can have that kind of impact in so many aspects of the game.

Sure, young center Tyler Toffoli will likely now be recalled from the American League and be presented with an opportunity to show what he can do. And maybe Matt Frattin will get more minutes despite being a non-factor in his first 13 regular-season games as a King. But unless there’s a blockbuster trade in the works, there’s no way Carter’s contributions will be matched by one player.

Veterans and newbies alike will have to pitch in. And there’s very little room in the standings for error.

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Injury to Carter will test Kings' depth, mettle