LA Kings Arthur Kaliyev followed up his solid tournament in 2020 with an even better one in 2021, coming away with World Junior gold.
After scoring three goals and five assists in seven games for Team USA, how he fared at the World Juniors in Edmonton may be the jolt Arthur Kaliyev needs to make the jump to the NHL. Monday marked Kaliyev’s first day at LA Kings camp, but despite the late start, the native of Staten Island, NY, is poised to make the most of his time at camp, proving that he deserves a roster spot with the big club.
Following camp on Monday, Kaliyev spoke with the media about how he felt being back in southern California.
“Yeah, it’s really exciting,” beamed the former Hamilton Bulldog. “I’m really, really happy to be back here. I thought it was a great first day to get my feet wet.”
Of course, if Kaliyev had any hope of gradually making his way into the thick of things, he quickly discovered that he was out of luck. Instead of being paired with the younger corps, the 19-year-old found himself working with many of the LA Kings’ veterans instead — a situation that would make anyone in Kaliyev’s situation nervous. Well, almost anyone.
“I’m just more excited to be around those guys,” Kaliyev said. “It’s really a time to practice with those guys. I thought– I was going to do my best every rep I get and work as hard as I can on every rep.”
Since the LA Kings drafted him in 2019 (2nd round, 33rd overall), Kaliyev’s game has come a long way. Still, the winger continues to work on his craft.
“I’ve been really working on my overall game,” Kaliyev told the media. “Trying to be a 200-foot player, being able to play great defensively, offensively in all three zones. I think I’ve been really trying to improve that. So, I was trying to improve my speed everywhere and just try to work as hard and compete really well everywhere.”
As for why Kaliyev was so late arriving to LA Kings camp, well, his heroics in Edmonton were already alluded to.
The 19-year-old was nothing short of spectacular at the 2021 World Juniors, helping Team USA win gold for the first time since 2017. In the gold-medal game, though, Kaliyev and the Americans shut out Canada, whose roster included fellow LA Kings prospects Quinton Byfield and Jordan Spence.
Kaliyev was asked about his experience at these past World Juniors, especially playing in a bubble.
“Kind of a crazy experience because we couldn’t do much except being at the hotel and the rink,” the youngster noted. “It was great bonding around your whole team.
“It was fun and crazy but I’ll never forget [the World Juniors].
The more the 2021 World Juniors went on, the more excited fans of the LA Kings became. Prospects Alex Turcotte and Brock Faber certainly had noteworthy — nay, memorable — tournaments themselves, but if the two weeks in Edmonton weren’t a coming out party for Arthur Kaliyev, it’s hard to figure what will be instead.
In 2019, he had more time and more of an opportunity to prove himself at training camp, but this time around is no less important for Arthur Kaliyev. The LA Kings have certainly waited some time to see him play professionally but 2021 will be the year.
Whether he begins the season in Ontario or Los Angeles remains to be seen, but you can bet that Arthur Kaliyev will be worth remembering for at least the next few years.