The Kings' Brayden Schenn, left, and the Devils' Rod Pelley… (Christine Cotter / Associated…)
Reporting from San Jose — The Kings assigned center Brayden Schenn to Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League instead of summoning him to join them for their first-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks.
Schenn, the fifth pick in the 2009 draft, played eight games for the Kings this season. Two more would trigger the first year of his entry-level contract and move him closer to a second and usually more lucrative contract. In addition, Coach Terry Murray frequently criticized Schenn's defensive play and a lapse could be pivotal in a series the Kings hope will be low-scoring.
"All I know is that he has been assigned to Manchester. That means he's available to us," Murray said Thursday. "Go down there and hopefully he gets into some games playing at that level and just continues with his career and if there's a need we can have him available at any time."
General Manager Dean Lombardi didn't respond to requests for comment. However, he said Tuesday he was hesitant to burden Schenn with the pressure of replacing injured center Anze Kopitar.
"The other thing, too, is that he can help us in terms of making plays. But the perception that he's somehow going to fill in for Kopitar is way off," Lombardi said. "He could improve the team in an area like [Andrei] Loktionov, in terms of playmaking and puck possession. But the perception that he's going to go in there and suddenly Kopitar's hole is going to be filled, that's totally unrealistic.
"The other thing in the back of my mind is, is this really the stage to put the kid on?"