Prospect Watch: Arthur Kaliyev
Now that the trade deadline is over, and the Rangers nearly stripped the team down to bare bones (which was the right way to do it), it is time to start looking towards the 2019 NHL draft. The Rangers took three big swings in the first round of the 2018 NHL draft with Vitali Kravtsov (9th overall), K’Andre Miller (22nd overall), and Nils Lundkvist (28th overall) shooting for high upside with the picks.
The pay off, as of right now, looks like it was worth it. Kravtsov has his (pretty awful) Traktor team in the KHL playoffs where he has accounted for 29% of the goals (either scoring or assisting on them). That 29% is in the same company with guys like Artemi Panarin, Vlad Tarasenko, and Evgeny Kuznetsov in their 19-year-old year season in the KHL. K’Andre Miller is compiling points at a ridiculous rate in his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin, where he has 22 in 26 games (a PPG average of .85). Those 22 points lead the Badgers, even with Miller having missed six games due to injury.
The Badgers are hopeful to have Miller back for the Big 10 playoffs. Finally we have Nils Lundkvist, who currently has 10 points in 39 games for Lulea of the SHL. For those of you unfamiliar with Lulea, they are a top-notch club in the SHL (arguably the third best league in the world), and Nils is a regular on the team as an 18-year-old. His point total at his age is in some elite company with Sami Vatanen and Erik Karlsson having similar points totals during their times in the SHL. Right now, the Rangers three first round picks are developing extremely well. We are all hopeful the good development continues, and eventually translates to the big club on Broadway in the near future.
So this brings me to the 2019 NHL draft, where the Rangers currently hold two first round picks (their own and Winnipeg’s). There is a chance for two more based on conditions (if Tampa wins the cup they will pick 31st in the first round, and if Dallas wins two playoff series where Mats Zuccarello plays at least 50% of those playoff games). What I’m going to be focusing on, and updating you on, is a player I want the Rangers to focus on with their own pick: Arthur Kaliyev. Before I dive into this, I want it to be known that I am targeting Kaliyev based on where I believe the Rangers will be picking. If they pick 1 or 2, we all know about the Hughes and Kakko campaign, but I unfortunately do not see them picking there. Right now, I believe the Rangers will finish at about eighth or ninth from the bottom. Based on projections, they are on pace for around 78 points. Last year, 78 points would have had a team picking at that eight or nine spot, so that is what I will assume. Obviously, things are subject to change if for instance, the Rangers lose more than I expect, win more than I expect, or end up in the top-3 from the lottery.
Let us first look at his background:
Kaliyev was born in Uzbekistan, and moved to the United States when he was just 11 months old. His parents moved to none other than Staten Island, making Kaliyev a New Yorker, even though he was born in a different country. Kaliyev is currently 17 years old (18 in June) playing in the OHL for the Hamilton Bulldogs. He is currently in his second season with the team. Last year as a rookie, Kaliyev made the all-rookie team for the OHL.
The type of player:
Kaliyev is a pure goal scorer. He has a lethal shot, and can score from any spot on the ice, whether it be from the dot, down low in front of the net, or in the high slot. Aside from his tremendous release, Kaliyev is a big body 17-year-old standing at 6 foot 2, and 190 pounds. He is able to get inside defenders with his size and get good looks from the slot. As for on the dot, he has an Ovechkin-type mentality where he can just let shots go and blow pucks by goaltenders, especially on the power play. Kaliyev also has a great set of hands where he is able to put moves on defenders and create lanes for himself to shoot. His release is his biggest weapon in that when he does pull off a dangle, or is able to drop in between the dots through defenders, he can still snap off a great shot. The one knock on Kaliyev is his skating ability. As most pure goal scorers go, what they have in their hands, they lack in their feet. I’m not saying Kaliyev skates as if he has lead in his boots; it’s just the one part of his game that is not top-notch. The Rangers passed on Oliver Wahlstrom last year for Vitali Kravtsov (which we are all more than happy about), but Wahlstrom is a pure goal scorer, and I believe the Rangers still lack that. I believe that Kaliyev can be that guy for them.
To summarize, Cam Robinson of Dobber Prospects had this to say about Arthur Kaliyev:
“A shoot-first winger who knows how to find the back of the net. Somewhat one-dimensional at times but that dimension has produced 24 goals in 34 OHL games this season. Drives into the hard areas and protects the puck well.” – Robinson on December 20th, 2018.
As mentioned before, in his first year with the Bulldogs in the OHL, Kaliyev shined as a 16-year-old making the OHL’s all-rookie team. Kaliyev finished the season with 48 points in 68 games. 31 of those 48 points came in the form of goals. His 31 goals were the most by any 16-year-old OHL’er since Alex Galchenyuk scored 31 in 2010-2011. Kaliyev is currently in his second year with the Bulldogs during his now draft-eligible year. Here is where I will continue to update you on his progress throughout the remainder of the season:
2018-2019 non-OHL Statistics:
Hlinka Gretzky Cup: 5 games: 3 goals – 3 assists – 6 points
2018 – 2019 OHL Statistics with the Hamilton Bulldogs
As of February 27, 2019:
Hamilton Bulldogs: 60 games: 47 goals – 46 assists – 93 points
Staff Writer James Van Casternen will be updating you weekly on Kaliyev’s progress. Featured image courtesy of OHL images.