Heading down the stretch and into the postseason, the Los Angeles Kings might be getting a key piece of last year’s run to a Stanley Cup title back in their lineup much sooner than expected. That potential addition comes in the form of Matt Greene, who could be ready to get back in the lineup in the very near future.
Greene has been out since January, having played in just one game this season. In fact, he only made it through one period, having gone down with a back injury after delivering a hit against the Chicago Blackhawks. The injury was something that was believed to likely hold him out until the end of this year, and potentially through next season.
That doesn’t appear to be the case at all, though. Greene was cleared for contact and is traveling with the team. There is no timetable for when he will actually return, but his recent progress certainly bodes well for a potential return before the regular season comes to an end.
There’s no arguing how important to this lineup Greene is. A physical defenseman, who block shots and kills penalties, Greene was a major factor in the Kings winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history last year. Getting him back is a positive, even if he doesn’t make it into the actual lineup right away.
Darryl Sutter has made it perfectly clear that even if Greene is healthy, that doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed a spot in the lineup immediately. The Kings have seen a breakout year from the likes of Jake Muzzin, in addition to the trades to acquire Robyn Regehr and Keaton Ellerby at earlier points this season.
But when Greene is ready to return, it will be a good problem to have for the Kings. With an absolutely loaded blue line, they’ll be a threat to repeat as Stanley Cup champions when the playoffs begin.