The Ontario Reign were back on the ice this morning for the first time the team's 5-3 win over Colorado on Saturday, after enjoying a short break thanks to the All-Star Competition.
Gone from the group that played on Saturday are four players - Matt Luff, Sean Walker, Mike Amadio and Austin Wagner - as the quartet joined the Kings for their east coast swing. However, in the fold was forward Carl Grundstrom, who was acquired by the LA Kings organization on Monday, as a part of the trade that sent defenseman Jake Muzzin to Toronto.
Grundstrom, who skated on a line earlier today alongside forwards Matt Moulson and Philippe Maillet, admitted that, initially, it took him by surprise when he was told that he'd be on the move.
"I was a little bit shocked, of course," he said, when asked about his initial reactions to hearing he was traded. "Otherwise, it's just pack your stuff and get out of there. Kyle Dubas called me, he let me know and after that, Rob [Blake] called me too."
Toronto to the South Bay...two great places, but certainly completely different climates for the first-year forward.
"Yeah, it was freezing in Toronto, so it was nice to come out here in the sun," Grundstrom said with a laugh. "It feels great... It's a nice spot for sure."
And a young, Swedish player coming to a new organization, you wouldn't imagine he'd see too many familiar faces, right? Well, wrong. Through his time wearing the Three Crowns on his jersey, Grundstrom has spent time alongside a pair of current Kings at the international level.
"I played with Adrian Kempe at MODO and with the national team," Grundstrom said. "I know him, and I also played one or two games on the national team with [Oscar] Fantenberg as well."
Grundstrom brings an offensive punch to the Reign, combining speed and edge with an offensive flair (29 points from 43 games with the AHL's Toronto Marlies).
"I think I play fast and hard." Grundstrom said after today's practice. "I like to score and be creative with the puck as well."
While technically a rookie by both NHL and AHL standards, Grundstrom brings 26 games of Calder Cup Playoff experience across two seasons, including a Calder Cup Championship a season ago with the Marlies. After completing his campaign with Frolunda in the top division in Sweden, Grundstrom headed to Eastern Canada to join the Marlies for playoffs.
The 19-year-old forward became an offensive leader for the Marlies, finishing second on the team with eight goals as Toronto went on to win the Calder Cup in June. Grundstrom collected a goal and an assist in a decisive Game 7, his second multi-point game of the series.
"It was really cool for sure" Grundstrom said of his championship run last season. "We had a great team there, had a good run, it was really a nice experience. Obviously, it was really fun to win the Calder Cup."
While his time in Toronto didn't necessitate a change of scenery to find success - Grundstrom is tied for sixth in the AHL in goals by a rookie and eighth in points - the change might provide him with new opportunities. While he begins his journey in the Kings organization with Ontario, Grundstrom hopes his time will eventually lead him to STAPLES Center.
"Yeah, hopefully, I think I've got a good opportunity here," he said. "I've just got to play well and play my best and keep working. Hopefully, I'll have a good shot here."