Brooks Laich will make his preseason debut for the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday against the Vegas Golden Knights. The former Capital will start on the third line, centering a unit with Matt Luff on his left and Andrew Crescenzi on his right. All three forwards are fighting for a roster spot.
Laich has not played so far this preseason, despite being scheduled to play twice already. The first game, in Arizona on September 18, was called because the ice was not in good enough condition. Laich held himself out of the second game he was on track to play, against the Anaheim Ducks on September 22, after suffering an injury.
“I need to be evaluated in game situations, but in order to show what I really have, I need to be healthy and 100% to do that,” Laich said to LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen. “Wasn’t comfortable this week with it, but excited for tonight, excited to play a game again. That’s why we all play this.”
After being traded to the Maple Leafs along with Connor Carrick and a second-round pick for Daniel Winnik and a fifth-round selection, Laich’s career has stalled. The fan-favorite in Washington only scored one goal in 21 games with the Leafs in 2016 after the trade. Last season, Laich tallied one marker in 27 games with the Leafs’ AHL team, the Toronto Marlies.
Laich requested to be traded at the trade deadline, but was not dealt. Toward the end of the season, Laich was demoted to the Marlies’ fourth line. After being shut down for the year to deal with elbow surgery, Laich left the team and worked out at his home in Los Angeles.
Laich, who got married to Julianne Hough over the summer, signed a professional tryout agreement with the Kings. The 34-year-old is is now in a fight for a roster spot.
“I’m excited to go, to show what I have,” Laich said to Rosen. “Still trying to make this team, need to do it in the preseason games. Need to show what I can bring, what I can offer, so for myself, it’s a very big day today, a very big game tonight.”
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