New Kings Nikita Scherbak, Brendan Leipsic already love L.A.

LOS ANGELES — Nikita Scherbak was in Southern California once before, when he was 10 – to play hockey, of course.

“We had a tournament with the team from Moscow. We flew all the way and I was the youngest guy, so my parents barely let me go for 14 hours on the plane and go so far,” said Scherbak, a forward who the Kings claimed off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday. “For me, back then, I went to Disneyland. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is dream. California dreaming.’ ”

Scherbak, from Russia, had not been back to the region since. Until Monday, when the 22-year-old stepped off the plane.

“I’ve seen all these posters on the streets with LeBron James and all that and it’s just, like I said, dream for me,” Scherbak said. “It’s like, I’m living the dream right now and it’s unbelievable.”

Scherbak was blindsided by the Kings’ acquisition of him.

“It was kind of like, I don’t know, I was just stunned,” he said. “I didn’t know what to say, what to think for the first 10, 15 minutes. But definitely, my fiancée was freaking out, jumping around the kitchen.”

Scherbak is obviously thrilled to be part of the Kings’ organization, as is the other newcomer – forward Brendan Leipsic, who was claimed off waivers from Vancouver on Monday.

“Well, obviously, I’m pretty excited,” said Leipsic, 24. “It’s nice to be picked up by a team like this and come in here, play hard, try and show I belong, try and take it day by day.”

Scherbak said at the Tuesday morning skate ahead of the Kings’ game against Arizona that he was still awaiting final approval on his work visa, but the smile on his face made it clear he is ready to roll. He has not played in the NHL this season – he has played five games in the AHL – and has been dealing with a lower-body injury.

He said he is now healthy – he was taken off injured reserve – and he talked about what he can bring to a group that averaged a league-low 2.11 goals before Tuesday.

“I think I’ll bring speed to the team,” he said. “Definitely size. I think skill; I have a pretty good shot. Just a lot of speed, size and skill.”

Scherbak has played a total of 29 NHL games. He played three for Montreal in 2016-17, scoring a goal. He was in 26 this past season, scoring four goals and doling out two assists.

At 6-foot-2, 192 pounds, he does have size.

LEIPSIC, ON HIS ROLE

Leipsic is in his third NHL season. He played six games for Toronto in 2015-16, 44 for Vegas in ’17-’18, 14 for Vancouver in ’17-’18 and 17 this season for Vancouver for a total of 81. During that time he had eight goals and 22 assists.

He knows the Kings are struggling to put the puck in the net, and he wants to help.

“Yeah, I put a lot of pressure on myself to produce when I’m put in those offensive situations,” said Leipsic, who has two goals and three assists this season. “But right now, I’m just kind of focusing on bringing some speed, some skill, work ethic and just trying to push the pace a little bit – bring some pace to the game.”

On his fourth team at his tender age, Leipsic wants to be impressive right away.

“Hopefully, I can find my niche on this team early and get off to a good start,” he said. “It will be important to earn the coach’s trust so I can play in all situations and just kind of take it from there.”

THIS AND THAT

Interim coach Willie Desjardins said on Tuesday morning that forward Trevor Lewis (fractured foot) suffered a setback. The Kings then announced in the afternoon that Lewis has had surgery on the foot and will miss four to five more weeks. He hasn’t played since Nov. 13. … Forward Sheldon Rempal has been sent to Ontario of the AHL.

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