As the 2019 NHL Entry Draft approaches, the Los Angeles Kings have their work cut out for them, including making decisions on two first-round picks: the fifth pick and the 22nd pick, thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs. From now until the draft, the staff of Jewels from the Crown will be taking a look at some draft-eligible players to help introduce some young men who could very possibly be future Kings.
Six months ago, Arthur Kaliyev was hardly on the radar. But after lighting up the OHL this season with 51 goals, his stock has soared. Maybe that’s because the list of under-18 CHL forwards who’ve scored 50 goals recently is rather small and has made significant impact in the NHL. Here’s the list: Alex DeBrincat, Jeff Skinner, and Kaliyev. Now the teams in the 12-14 slots (Minnesota, Florida, Arizona) are coming after his services, and hard. But, before we get into the strengths and weaknesses, let’s get the basics out of the way…
HOCKEY CARD STATS
Born: June 26, 2001 (Age 17)
Place of Birth: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Weight: 190 lbs.
2018-19 Season: Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
Regular Season: 67 Games, 102 Points (51G, 51A), 22 PIM
Playoffs: 4 Games, 2 Points (1G, 1A), 0 PIM
#7—NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (North American Skaters)
Arthur Kaliyev possesses the one thing that no one seems to be able to stop: a lethal one timer. This is an Alex Ovechkin-level one-timer that makes him a menace at any level. A one timer is not the only bow in his quiver. He’s a pure sniper with a remarkable wrist shot and quick release, picking corners with unbelievable accuracy. He can also score with a more-than-effective backhand. And to boot, he’s improved his passing game and is not even 18 yet.
His shot, stickhandling, and ice vision makes him the ultimate weapon on the power play. Kaliyev is skilled at running a unit and picks apart defenses at will. It’s said that he can be indifferent for long stretches, but the same people who say that will also marvel at his positive scoresheet in that same game.
Kaliyev is not a great skater, but he is extremely strong on his skates with excellent balance making him almost impossible to knock off the puck.
Kaliyev is the poster child for bust or boom prospect with player tendencies that could drive some coaches to retirement. There are huge question marks attached to his in-game work ethic and effort levels. Kaliyev often stays away from the backcheck and is [kindly stated] uninvolved in the D-Zone. He needs to strengthen his skating and evolve his first few steps. In other words, development will need to be a priority here.
“Arthur is one of the most dynamic players I’ve coached in the OHL in my six years here. I coached Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat. In my opinion, Arthur is just as good a player as either of those two. They differ in play styles, but all achieve what NHL organizations look for. Arthur is more than just a power play producer, his underlying value is his ability to produce at even strength and his playmaking. He’s been as coachable as they come and a pleasure to work with.”— Vince Laise, Hamilton Bulldogs head coach.
WHY THE KINGS SHOULD TAKE A CHANCE
We could wax poetic about multiple scenarios where the Kings should find a way to get into the Kaliyev Sweepstakes, but it looks like a team like the Minnesota Wild could be locked into him with the 12th pick. This is one player the Kings will have to game plan for eventually.