Kings News & Rumors: Arvidsson, Tkachev, & More

In this edition of Los Angeles Kings News & Rumors, I’ll be discussing the recent news about Gabe Vilardi and Viktor Arvidsson entering COVID-19 protocol. I will also be discussing Vladimir Tkachev being sent down to the American Hockey League (AHL), and a great weekend for the team’s prospects in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).

Arvidsson & Vilardi Enter COVID-19 Protocol

Just before Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, it was announced that forwards Arvidsson and Vilardi would be entering COVID-19 Protocol. The tweet from the Kings PR team came out just minutes before puck drop, meaning Carl Grundstrom was a late addition to the team’s lineup.

This was a tough blow for Arvidsson, who buried a much-needed goal in Saturday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. Rookie Arthur Kaliyev originally took his place on the first line, but after struggling to keep up with the line, he was swapped with Lias Andersson midway through the game. Fortunately, I don’t think Arvidsson is in any danger of losing his spot on this line, and once he’s cleared to play, he will return to Anze Kopitar‘s wing.

Viktor Arvidsson Nashville Predators
Viktor Arvidsson, Former Nashville Predator (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

For Vilardi, it is a disappointing situation but didn’t change his status for Sunday’s game as he was a healthy scratch before the news was announced. Hopefully, he will not be out for too long, as the last thing he needs is a bigger hit to his confidence. It’s been a rough start to his sophomore season, but the season is still young and there’s plenty of time for Vilardi to turn it around.

Tkachev Sent to the AHL

On Saturday it was announced that rookie forward Tkachev was being sent down to the Ontario Reign to make room for the return of Andersson. Tkachev has stated in the past that he’s willing to spend time in the AHL this season, but he also has an opt-out clause in his contract stating he can return to Russia if he’s sent down. There has been no indication that he’s looking to utilize this clause, so for now, I would expect him to accept his reassignment. However, with Andreas Athanasiou set to return soon, roster spots for Tkachev are shrinking and he might think about going back to Russia.

Related: Kings’ Third Line Will Be a Source of Offense This Season

Tkachev was very impressive during preseason, as his chemistry with Andersson and Vilardi was incredible, with the line tearing through teams. But the line started the season fractured after Andersson’s injury, and Tkachev struggled to adapt during the regular season. On the power play, he looks amazing, his vision, passing, and puck skills are incredible, but his 5v5 play has been abysmal. With decreased time and space, he is clearly struggling. His 30.6% Corsi for percentage at even strength is a team-worst and an indication of his 5v5 struggles. He’s undoubtedly a talented hockey player, but I’m questioning if he has a future with the Kings, especially with roster spots shrinking.

Kings Prospects Have Great Weekend in OHL

It’s hard to talk about the Kings right now and not bring up some of their incredible prospects, and this last weekend they were on full display in the OHL. Brandt Clarke, Martin Chromiak, and Francesco Pinelli all continued to dominate during Halloween weekend. Clarke put up an incredible six points in three games during the team’s road trip, including the game-winner on Friday. This brings him to 12 points in eight games, as he establishes himself as one of the league’s best defensemen.

Brandt Clarke Barrie Colts
Brandt Clarke of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Chromiak also put together a dominant weekend, with five points in two games. Most of these came in a wonderful three-goal, one assist game on Saturday against the Ottawa 67’s, with a point on each of the team’s goals, Chromiak carried his team to victory. He also grabbed an early contender for goal of the season, with his lacrosse goal against the 67’s.

Reminiscent of another Kings prospect who pulled off a similar goal in 2019. Like Kaliyev, Chromiak is tearing through the OHL, and doing it with style. Pinelli also continued his fantastic play, grabbing four assists on Saturday in his team’s 6-3 win over the Windsor Spitfires. The Kings might be finding early-season struggles, but their OHL prospects certainly are not. I’m sure Reign head coach John Wroblewski has a big smile on his face watching these players, as he knows they’ll be joining his team within the next few seasons.

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