A healthy percentage of our readers come to MayorsManor for inside information and coverage of the LA Kings prospects. To that end, astute readers likely were well aware of Arthur Kaliyev long before the Kings selected him at the NHL Draft this past June. After all, we were already talking about a Kaliyev-Kings connection as far back as April. They really liked the player, it was just a matter of was he still going to be on the board and would his selection (at that time) still allow them to accomplish what they were looking to with their first three picks – as explained here.
Since hearing his name called early Saturday morning at the Draft, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind for the 18-year-old New Yorker. First, he was shuttled off to Los Angeles for Kings Development Camp. Then, a month later, he was in Michigan with Team USA for the World Junior Summer Showcase. To say he turned heads at both would be an understatement. Taking it a step further and labeling him ‘potentially the most lethal goal scorer in Kings history’ may sound like hyperbole – or at the very least, a bit premature. Yet, expectations are already reaching nearly unheard of levels.
Kaliyev and his family decided to spend a good chunk of the summer in Los Angeles, so he’s been (informally) working out with some of the team’s NHL players. And the reviews coming in are… well, out of this world (how’s that for hyperbole?).
Along with guys like Akil Thomas and Tobias Bjornfot, Kaliyev looks to be one of the featured stars participating in Kings Rookie Camp beginning next Friday He’ll also likely have a key role at the big NHL Rookie Faceoff tournament in Irvine.
While a player named Arthur would be a first on the Kings NHL roster, here’s a little-known fact for you – most of his teammates actually call him Arty a nickname he quite prefers.
To help loop Kings fans in even further during these slow summer news periods, we recently chatted up the future Kings sniper on a myriad of topics…
MM: Let’s start with the WJSS, which many people were able to watch on TV thanks to NHL Network. What are some of the memories you took away from your experience there and who had the better tournament, you or Alex Turcotte?
[Instant laughter from Kaliyev] I have no idea. You can say whoever did.
It was just great playing against so many high-end prospects. It was a great first experience there, just fun to be there. I know many of the players on the U.S. team. They’re great guys. Like with Turcotte, I’ve known him since I was like 13 or 14 years old. We were talking long before we were both drafted by LA.
Overall, I just tried to play my best and we’ll see what happens next… I didn’t get to play in the first game because they were going through a rotation with so many guys in camp. There were a couple of good players next to me who were scratched also, so it wasn’t a problem. I would have been disappointed if I was scratched for the last game, not the first game. I was pretty calm. I just watched the game [and observed] what was going on because I knew I’d play the next day against Sweden. Later, when I found out I was playing against Canada, that last day – they posted the lineup that morning – I was really happy I made the lineup that day.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) August 1, 2019
MM: When did you notice that both you and Turcotte were wearing No. 19 early in camp?
We were on different teams at the beginning, and I noticed that right away. When we combined into one team, they just gave me another number. I walked into the locker room and the 22 was just hanging there. I have no idea why, they didn’t explain anything. Same thing with 23, I have no idea how I got that number. It was nothing different, nobody told me. It didn’t even matter to me though.
MM: Did you offer him Chipotle to get the 19 back?
Nah. We both went to Chipotle while we were there though; not together, but separately. I’m a Chipotle fan too; I like it a lot.
MM: What number would you have preferred, if they let you pick?
I’ve been wearing 34 my whole life. I’m hoping I can get it in LA one day too. Put that on reserve for me, will you? [laughter] I’ve been wearing 34 since mites or squirts. Honestly, I don’t even have a back-up number. I’ve never had a different number in my whole life.
MM: What if somebody has 34 and they asked you to switch the numbers to 43, would you be ok with that?
I don’t know, probably not.
NOTE: Nobody current wears 34 in LA. However, Kale Clague is coming up soon and he wears 34 in Ontario. He was also recently spotted wearing 34 at the NHLPA Rookie Showcase. Although that isn’t Clague’s preferred number, there’s another significant problem. The two numbers Clague has been eyeing are already spoken for in LA. Stay tuned.
MM: Does the possibility of playing for USA at the World Juniors this winter add any extra pressure to the start of your season, wanting to make sure you earn that roster spot?
You dream about playing in the U20 tournament since you started playing hockey. It’s one of the biggest international tournaments in the world, so it would be a big honor to go. I’d definitely try to play my best if I make it there. For now, I don’t think it adds any pressure. I try to stay calm, so I can play my best. If I put pressure on myself, I don’t think I’ll play very well.
I have spoken to Kaliyev about his Mets tweet. We discussed, at length, his love for the Mets, childhood memories, going to NYM games, etc.
He also understands the rules. Tells me he just recently purchased a Dodgers hat and we’re not going to have any issues. Noted. https://t.co/1yWb5aEcYK
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) August 10, 2019
MM: We need to talk about your Mets tweets…
I grew up watching them, especially during the summer. During the off-season there isn’t much on. So, I always turned on the Mets game at night. And I would go to about 10 games a year. Even when I was in Florida, I would go to the Marlins game.
MM: A longstanding rule around here is that you’re going to need to wear a Dodger hat in LA…
No problem. I already got one.
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PHOTO: Daniel Stopani, MayorsManor photographer