LA Kings: Arthur Kaliyev ready for increased role in WJC

LA Kings Training Camp (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)
LA Kings Training Camp (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images) /
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According to reports, Maple Leafs prospect Nicholas Robertson will not play in the WJC, leaving the door open for LA Kings’ Arthur Kaliyev to shine.

Nicholas Robertson is one of the best prospects in hockey, but the Maple Leafs reportedly want their star ready for training camp. As a result, the 19-year-old will miss the upcoming World Junior Championships after tallying two goals with three assists in last year’s tournament. Robertson’s absence now leaves the door open for LA Kings‘ prospect Arthur Kaliyev.

A second-round pick in 2019, Kaliyev has racked up points in the OHL for the Hamilton Bulldogs. If not for the COVID-19 pandemic, the 19-year-old winger would have likely put up back-to-back 100-point seasons.

In last year’s World Juniors, he played for Team USA, breaking out to the tune of six points in five games. The US finished sixth in 2020, but they have eight players returning from last year’s team, including fellow Kings’ prospect Alex Turcotte.

Kaliyev will step into Robertson’s spot on the Americans’ top line, likely playing with Turcotte and Ducks’ top prospect Trevor Zegras. Team USA head coach Nate Leaman is expecting a big showing from the dynamic winger.

"“He (Kaliyev) needs to be heavily involved,” said Leaman. “He’s playing with two top guys. He’s played in the tournament previously too, so he has that experience. He’s also coming off a good year in junior hockey, last year.“We’re expecting big things from Arty. And, certainly, we’re putting him in a role where we’re expecting for him to contribute.”"

As noted, Kaliyev is one of the best pure scorers in the Kings’ prospect pool. Robertson led the OHL in the 2019-2020 season with 55 goals, but Kaliyev wasn’t far behind, finishing with 44, including 16 on the man advantage.

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Not only is he an excellent shooter, but Kaliyev is so good at distributing the puck. He and fellow Kings’ prospect Akil Thomas finished with 25 primary assists on the power play in the OHL last season. Look for the Arty Party to put up big numbers in the 2021 WJC for Team USA.