With the first round of this year’s NHL Draft just a smidge over five weeks away, our ongoing preview of the league’s annual prospect-palooza continues to pick up steam. In several recent radio interviews MayorsManor editor, John Hoven, has talked extensively about the Kings possibly trading down a few spots from their current No. 5 position. In fact, on TSN Radio earlier this week, he went in-depth regarding a scenario which could see Los Angeles make two trades inside the first round (listen here).
Thus far in our series, we’ve already taken deep dives on forward Kirby Dach and defenseman Bowen Byram. In this article, we’ll further explore one of the names who could be in play should the Kings pull off one of the deals explained by Hoven in the interview referenced above. After previously looking at two WHL players, we now travel out to the OHL for some insight on a high-scoring, American winger.
Date of Birth: June 26, 2001
Weight: 194 lbs
Position: Right Wing/Left Wing
Kaliyev spent his entire 2018-19 OHL season on the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he scored 102 points (51 G, 51 A) in 67 games – which led his team and tied the entire league for sixth overall. He also had two points (1 G, 1 A) in 4 playoff games, as his team was swept in the first round. While representing the United States at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, Kaliyev notched six points (3 G, 3 A) in five games – good for second on Team USA; although they were unable to earn a medal.
That’s A Lot Of Bull
Kings free agent signee Matt Luff formerly played with the Hamilton Bulldogs – though he never played with Kaliyev. Prior to moving to Hamilton in 2015, the Bulldogs were formerly the Belleville Bulls. If that team doesn’t immediately sound familiar, the Kings have previously selected several players from this organization; guys like Jake Marchment (2014), Bryan Cameron (2007), Cory Campbell (1999), Kevin Baker (1999), Justin Papineau (1998), and Kevin Brown (1992). Former Kings enforcer Marty McSorely also spent time with the club during his junior days.
Made (But Not Born) In the USA
Kaliyev was actually born in Uzbekistan, yet moved to Staten Island when he was just two years old. Consequently, he has represented Team USA in International tournaments and will likely continue to do so.
Not Invited to The Party
While Kaliyev suited up for Team USA in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup last August, he was not invited to join Team USA at the U-18 Championship or the U-20 World Junior Championship. Don’t hold it against him completely, however; nobody from the Hlinka Gretzky team was invited to the U-18s. As you can deduce, not even Jack Hughes, Alex Turcotte, Trevor Zegras, or Cole Caufield were invited to the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
The Baker’s Dozen
Kaliyev is in pretty impressive company; there aren’t many players who scored 50 goals in the OHL at such a young age. Along with Kaliyev, other 50+ goal scorers before their 18th birthday:
– Tony Tanti
– Eric Lindros
– Steven Stamkos
– Dan Quinn
– Chris Gratton
– Mike Ricci
– David Legwand
– Daniel Cleary
– Alex DeBrincat
– Owen Nolan
– Jeff Skinner
– Todd Harvey
Below is a heat map showing where Kaliyev generates his offense, courtesy of Prospect Stats:
Rankings by Independent Scouting Services
– 25th by The Draft Analyst, In a separate article, Steve Kournianos wrote, “Although Kaliyev has a strong upper body and powerful leg drive, he isn’t a physically-intimidating power forward. He uses his above-average speed and stickhandling to quickly counter up ice and maintain possession while being harassed, but you wouldn’t classify him as a crease crasher. Kaliyev spends a significant amount of time away from puck battles but can hold him own in the corners. He has soft hands and is a very good passer for a sniper, and Kaliyev appears to develop immediate chemistry with any center or linemate. Kaliyev likely isn’t the first player a coach will summon to kill a penalty or suffocate an opponent’s late-period rally, but his goal scoring ability for a teenager most certainly is elite.”
– 17th by Sportsnet, who wrote: “He can score goals no doubt, with 51 in the OHL this season. But is his effort and play away from the puck consistent enough? Debate amongst yourselves.”
– 6th by Prospect Pipeline. Interestingly, that’s ahead of the aforementioned trio of Turcotte, Zegras, and Caufield.
See for Yourself
Here’s a collection of the many ways Kaliyev scored during this season past season:
As mentioned in previous posts from our 2019 NHL Draft Preview series, keep in mind these articles are not publishing in any specific order; this is yet another player who the Kings could be targeting with one of their selections next month. Kaliyev has good size at 6-foot-2 and — as you can see from the highlight reel — there is quite a variety in how he shoots or distributes the puck after handcuffing defenders. The question to his effort and consistency definitely needs to be addressed by any organization who takes him, yet adding a player with elite offensive skills certainly would bolster the Kings pipeline.
NOTE: David Hofreiter was the lead contributor in the gathering of information used in this article. You can find him on Twitter @Davidenkness to talk more hockey.
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