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Schenn ready for NHL debut

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
VANCOUVER -- For Kings prospects, Canada became the land of opportunity this week.


Brayden Schenn became the latest prospect to debut with the team when, on Thursday, he signed a one-game amateur tryout agreement. Schenn is expected to make his NHL debut for the Kings on Thursday night againt Vancouver.

Schenn, 18, was the No. 5 overall pick in the June entry draft and was one of the Kings' final cuts in training camp after some impressive preseason play. Schenn has 12 goals and 27 assists in 24 games with Brandon of the junior-level WHL.

``We're going to play Schenn a lot of minutes here tonight,'' coach Terry Murray said. ``I think it's the right  thing to do. He's a young guy that we're very high on. He's a great prospect, a  really good player for where he's at in his career right now, and he will play a  regular shift. I'm going to put him in a situation where he's going to play with a couple veteran players, and let him play.''

Schenn is expected to center the Kings' second line, between Alexander Frolov and Dustin Brown, and his opportunity came after a series of circumstances.

First, center Jarret Stoll suffered a lower-body injury that took him out of the lineup. Then, Andrei Loktionov suffered a dislocated shoulder in his NHL debut Wednesday. Then, because two of the Kings' minor-league options -- Trevor Lewis and Justin Azevedo -- are hurt, it created an opportunity for Schenn.

Finally, Schenn had the benefit of location. He happened to be playing in nearby Victoria with a team of top Canadian junior players against Russia this week.

``Last night after the game, I was kind of visiting with some people and my agent told me that there was a possibility of me going to Vancouver and playing with the Kings,'' Schenn said. ``I was pretty excited. I got the word this morning, and I’m just going to have fun with it. It’s a great experience and a good opportunity.''

Schenn's status as a junior player is not impacted by this signing. After tonight's game, he can return to his junior team. If he signs an entry-level contract, Schenn could stay with the Kings for up to nine games.

Schenn will become the third-youngest player to appear in a regular-season game for the Kings. Schenn, at 18 years, 97 days, is behind only Aki Berg, who debuted in 1995 at 18 years, 71 days, and Jimmy Carson, who debuted in 1986 at 18 years, 81 days. Schenn’s brother, Luke, made his NHL debut for Toronto last season, 24 days short of his 19th birthday.

INJURY REPORT

Loktionov suffered his injury late in the third period Wednesday against Edmonton. After the game, Oilers team doctors had trouble putting the shoulder in place.

On Thursday, Frolov, Loktionov's Russian countryman and unofficial NHL chaperone, said doctors were finally able to get the shoulder in place and that Loktionov was able to rest at an Edmonton-area hotel.

Stoll and Rob Scuderi, who is expected to miss a fifth consecutive game with a lower-body injury, both skated again after Thursday's morning skate.

``They're both getting real close,'' Murray said. ``Kind of shooting, I guess, for our next game back home. Hopefully they're ready to go, but with injuries, you've got to make sure they are 100 percent and ready to go for the long term.''

The Kings next play Saturday night, when they host the Chicago Blackhawks.

HAPPY HOMECOMING


Brandon Segal made his debut for the Kings on Wednesday, when he played 5 minutes, 29 seconds as a fourth-line winger and was credited with two hits.

Segal was called up from Manchester this week, and the timing couldn't have been better for him. Segal is a native of Richmond, B.C., located just south of Vancouver, and was able to enjoy a homecoming on Thursday.

Segal said he was leaving 12 passes for friends and family, including his parents, his sister and her husband and his girlfriend and her parents. Segal said he watched a lot of games at GM Place while growing up.

``A lot of games here, and in the old Pacific Coliseum too, in the heyday,'' Segal said, ``back in '94 when they had the tough loss against the New York Rangers (in the Stanley Cup Finals). That was a tough one for the city. I was definitely a huge Canucks fan growing up, so this has been a long time coming. It's been a big dream of mine to play against the Canucks here.''
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