READING, Pa. – The Reading Royals announced that the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League have assigned goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji to Reading.
The Royals are the ECHL affiliate of the Kings of the NHL and the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League.
Selected in the eighth round (238th overall) by Los Angeles in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and under NHL contract to the Kings, Fukufuji is 3-3-0 with a goals-against average of 3.19 and a save percentage of .898 in 10 games for Reading and 2-0-0 with a goals-against average of 1.30 and a save percentage of .954 in three games with Manchester of the American Hockey League.
He became the first Japanese player to play in an NHL game on Jan. 13 when he made his debut with the Los Angeles Kings, stopping four of five shots after entering the game in the third period in relief of former Reading goaltender Barry Brust. Fukufuji is one of 12 former ECHL players to make their NHL debut this season: Krys Barch (Dallas on Jan. 15), Barry Brust (Los Angeles on Nov. 30), Martin Houle (Philadelphia on Dec. 13), D.J. King (St. Louis on Oct. 5), Drew Larman (Florida on Nov. 13), Joey MacDonald (Detroit on Oct. 19), Kris Newbury (Toronto on Dec. 23), Jesse Schultz (Vancouver on Nov. 28), former ECHL All-Star goaltender Mike Smith (Dallas on Oct. 21), and Mike Wall (Anaheim on Nov. 26).