LA Kings Arthur Kaliyev

Arthur Kaliyev has thrived in a limited minutes role with the LA Kings this season, which can be attributed to the hard work of his linemates.

Offensively, Arthur Kaliyev is one of the most gifted players on the LA Kings roster. His shot was never in question when Los Angeles took him with the 33rd overall pick in the second round of the 2019 NHL Draft.

However, his skating and lack of defensive capabilities were the primary reasons he slipped beyond the first round. Kaliyev collected 51 goals and 102 points in the OHL but at the expense of a -13 during his draft year. The following year, he had 98 points and a -7 in 57 games.

Last year was a whirlwind season for Kaliyev, who played for three different teams. He began his season playing for Team USA in the World Juniors, helping the Americans win gold for the first time since 2017. Kaliyev, most notably, scored the game-winning goal in the semifinal game against Finland, receiving a pass from fellow Kings prospect Alex Turcotte.

Of course, this season, the World Juniors were canceled after just a couple of games played due to COVID-related problems arising in Edmonton and Red Deer.

“Good thing it wasn’t us last year, I was really happy,” Kaliyev admitted on Tuesday. “But at the same time, it’s really disappointing for the players this year because some of the older kids don’t have the chance to play in it again, so that’s really sad and disappointing for them.”

From World Juniors to his first season of professional hockey with the Ontario Reign, the Staten Island, NY native made tremendous strides in his game. So much that Reign head coach John Wroblewski commended Kaliyev for playing a complete 200-foot game.

Now in his first full year at the NHL level, Arthur Kaliyev has found a home on the Kings’ fourth line. Through 32 games played, the 20-year-old has six goals and 10 points.

Perhaps more importantly, he’s been sound defensively, carrying an even plus/minus into Thursday’s game against the Nashville Predators.

“Probably [my] overall game. Defensively, obviously, winning puck battles more, and being engaged more,” Kaliyev said of where his game has grown the most. “Playing in the system now and playing at a higher pace everywhere. I think I’ve been doing a way better job than I was in game one.”

Despite less ice time on the LA Kings’ fourth line, Kaliyev has been one of the more productive players on the team, which can largely be attributed to his linemates.

He’s primarily played with Brendan Lemieux and Blake Lizotte this season, and the LA Kings’ fourth line has arguably been one of the best in the National Hockey League.

According to MoneyPuck, the trio of Lemieux-Lizotte-Kaliyev has accounted for a 54.8 percent expected goals-for rate (xGF%) in just over 130 minutes time-on-ice.

“I think they work really hard every shift, forecheck, and always play hard and gritty at all times. They win battles and play great d-zone.

“I’d be happy to play with anyone, just happy to be adjusted to any role they need me. I think we’ve been doing a pretty good job of that,” Kaliyev said of playing with high-energy linemates.

While the fourth line is likely not where he will spend the majority of his NHL career, Kaliyev has made the most of his time with limited minutes. He’s on pace to finish with approximately 15 goals and 26 points, which would be excellent numbers for the young forward to build on.

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