2010 NHL Free Agency: Kings wrap up three more forwards: Elkins, Clune and Lewis

trevorlewis.jpgWe’ve already covered the signings of Marc-Andre Cliche and Brad Richardson earlier this weekend, but the Los Angeles Kings wrapped up five forwards overall this weekend. TSN reports that the team re-signed Corey Elkins, Rich Clune and Trevor Lewis as well.

Clune earned two assists and 26 penalty minutes in 14 regular season games with the Kings this past season, his first in the NHL. He also recorded five penalty minutes in four playoff games with the Kings. The 5-10, 198-pound native of Toronto spent the bulk of the season with the American Hockey League’s Manchester Monarchs, accumulating 14 points and 126 penalty minutes in 44 games.

Lewis began the 2009-10 season with the Kings and recorded zero points and zero penalty minutes in five games. He was assigned to Manchester and registered seven points and six penalty minutes in 23 regular season games. Lewis suffered an upper body injury Nov. 11 and missed 47 games. The 6-0, 199-pound native of Salt Lake City had nine points, 10 penalty minutes and a team-leading 52 shots in 16 playoff games, helping the Monarchs advance to the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals.

Elkins had one goal in three games with the Kings this past season, his first in the NHL. The 6-3, 216-pound native of West Bloomfield, Mich. recorded 43 points and 24 penalty minutes in 73 regular season games with Manchester. His 43 points was second on Manchester and first among club rookies (10th among AHL rookies).

Obviously, these moves pale in comparison to the decision the Kings/Ilya Kovalchuk will make in the next weeks (or heaven forbid, months).

That being said, GM Dean Lombardi’s slow-but-steady approach is producing some nice results so far. Naturally, adding Kovalchuk would accelerate the process to “Win Now” but Kings fans can be forgiven if they’re starting to look at it like a win/win situation.

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    Lightning give Vasilevskiy the hook after very rare Jurco goal

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    By just about any measure, Monday’s been lousy to Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

    He was pulled with a few minutes remaining in the first period after Chicago Blackhawks built a 3-1 lead, scoring those three goals on just eight shots on net.

    You could summarize Vasilevskiy’s awful start by those numbers, or by how rare the 3-1 goal was for the scorer.

    Tomas Jurco failed to score a goal or an assist in 16 games with the Red Wings, then went pointless in nine more games with Chicago before finally scoring his first goal of the season on Monday.

    Now, Jon Cooper didn’t pull Vasilevskiy because Jurco scored that tally. Still, it rubs a little extra salt in his wounds all things considered.

    Coach Q thinks Anisimov will be back by playoffs for Blackhawks

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    The bad news is that Artem Anisimov seems likely to miss all – or at least most – of the regular season for the Chicago Blackhawks with his lower-body injury.

    The good? Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville believes that Anisimov will be ready once the playoffs swing into motion, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports.

    Anisimov was hurt when he got tangled up with Canadiens forward Alex Radulov on March 14:

    The Blackhawks have been filling Anisimov’s typical spot alongside Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin with Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz lately. There have been flashes of brilliance with Schmaltz, but Chicago would probably feel most confident with Anisimov back in his familiar place.

    Chicago’s Central lead is pretty secure over the Minnesota Wild at the moment, which likely reduces motivation to rush Anisimov back before he’s truly ready. The Blackhawks close out their regular season on April 8, so there’s still time for him to heal up.

    Ducks demote Enroth, so Gibson’s close to a return

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    The Anaheim Ducks are flying high – er, waddling with some swagger? – right now thanks to Jonathan Bernier‘s somewhat shocking turnaround, but the pending return of John Gibson is promising.

    (Especially since the Ducks will likely want him to shake off some rust before the playoffs begin.)

    While it’s not clear if he’s exactly 100 percent healthy just yet, the Ducks sending Jhonas Enroth back to the AHL is a strong sign that Gibson is close.

    Enroth actually never got a shot to start for the Ducks, as his last NHL appearance came on Nov. 30, closing off his ill-fated run with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    Considering that Enroth was once a fairly hot commodity as at least a promising backup, it will be interesting to see how his 2017-18 season pans out. Will he get more or less of a chance than he received this season?

    Bernier, meanwhile, is richly rewarding the Ducks for sticking with him.

    He’s provided them with a Vezina-caliber March: 9-1-1, 1.71 GAA and .943 save percentage with one shutout. You almost wonder if there’s at least some potential for a goalie controversy if Gibson stumbles whenever he gets back into action … but hey, having two good goalies to choose from is better than none.

    (Which was the scenario that must have scared the Ducks when Gibson got hurt in the first place.)

    WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning almost certainly haven’t faced the Chicago Blackhawks in a game this important since the two teams were vying for a Stanley Cup.

    While the Blackhawks have already punched their ticket to the postseason and are merely trying to pad their lead in the Central Division, the Bolts are fighting for their playoff lives. At the moment, they rank three points behind the Boston Bruins for the final spot in the East. With a game in hand, they can make up a lot of ground tonight.

    With all of that in mind, it should be an entertaining contest. You can check it out on NBCSN, watch online or via the NBC Sports App.

    Click here for the livestream.