In this edition of Los Angeles Kings News & Rumors, I discuss the recent injury to Mikey Anderson, adding to the long list of injuries to the team, and Lias Andersson has been recalled from the Ontario Reign. I also review Arthur Kaliyev’s impressive game playing on the first line.
Anderson, Arvidsson, and Lemieux Week-to-Week
Monday night in Boston, Anderson sustained an upper-body injury. He returned to the ice for a couple of shifts before heading back to the locker room, not to return. He has recorded two goals and five assists through 55 games this season.
Anderson has been a steady defensive defenseman this season with 54.87 Corsi for percentage (CF%) and 54.36 expected goals for percentage (xGF%) – which means that the Kings have possessed the puck more than their opponent and has been expected to outscore their opponent with him on the ice.
His injury is yet another to add to the list. The Kings’ lineup is currently also without Sean Walker, Alexander Edler, Viktor Arvidsson, and Brendan Lemieux. Arvidsson and Lemieux were also recently updated to week-to-week.
The Kings are rumored to be in the market for an elite defenseman at the trade deadline, and Anderson’s injury makes an addition to the blue line even more likely. For now, though, head coach Todd McLellan said that he is comfortable with the D-core as it is.
“Overall, we feel pretty good about depth on the blue line…Jacob has played. Spence will get an opportunity after playing very well at the American League level. We’ve got to see where he is at the National Hockey League level. Strand, Wolanin, others down there have been able to pinch-hit, and each one of them provides something a little bit different than the other. As we go forward without Mikey, we’ll be looking at the ingredient for a certain night or a certain team and make decisions going forward.”
It will be worth keeping an eye on players who get a shot on defense as the Kings adopt a “next man up” attitude moving forward.
Andersson Recalled From Reign
One player returning from injury for the Kings is Andersson, who was recalled on Tuesday from the Reign. He has had a tough season so far, not getting any extended time in the lineup due to injury. In 13 games with the Kings, he put up just one assist. In his four games with the Reign, however, he scored an impressive six goals.
Andersson’s NHL career hasn’t gone as planned thus far, and many thought this could be the season that he stays at the NHL level. Hopefully, he can put up some points for the Kings — as he proved he can in Ontario — and further prove that he belongs in Los Angeles.
Kaliyev Impressive on First Line
Against the Bruins on Monday night, Kaliyev was given a shot on the team’s first line, alongside Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe. Kaliyev’s incredible offensive skill and shot made this a solid combination, and McLellan was impressed with how he took advantage of the opportunity.
After the overtime thriller in Boston, McLellan said of Kaliyev’s play on the first line: “We didn’t start there, but we went there quickly, for different reasons, and we didn’t leave saying, ‘Boy, Arty’s engine isn’t allowing him to keep up there’, or to play 18-20 minutes a night, versus 12. He’s done really good work away from the rink and in practice to increase the stamina, and I also think he understands mentally what it’s like to play in those situations. It was a heavy, hard game in Boston; he was able to lug some players around. He’s starting to use his size, not just as a shooter, but as a retriever, a loose-puck competitor, and those things are all real positive. He’ll get another opportunity, and we expect to see this go for a lot longer than it did in the past.”
When Kaliyev was drafted in 2019, many were concerned about his play away from the puck — likely the reason he slid to the second round — so it’s great to hear McLellan point out how good he is in puck battles while still being able to show off his elite shot. It will be great to watch young players like Kaliyev continue to get opportunities as the future core develops.
Advanced Stats per Evolving-Hockey
Zackary Weiner is a high school student from New York City who covers the Los Angeles Kings here at The Hockey Writers. He is a lifelong hockey fan and player, and his previous experience includes writing articles about the NHL for various online publications. His articles cover a wide variety of topics that concern the Kings and he takes into account a range of viewpoints, making his articles a perfect read for anyone who wants to stay up to date on the team. Zackary is more than happy to get into a conversation with fellow Kings fans, so feel free to leave a comment below any of his articles like this one to let him know your opinion and what you want to see next. You can also listen to him talk about the team on Fantasy Hockey Life, The Hockey Writers Live, and Blackhawks Banter.