Today we are going to make a rare stop in the National Hockey League to check out a top-rated prospect’s very successful debut. Plus, the Minnesota Wild had three draft picks help produce a victory in one of college hockey’s biggest rivalries. Finally, a New York Islanders’ prospect did not let the extended holiday break in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) cool him off.
Arthur Kaliyev Scores in NHL Debut
Kaliyev likely won’t fall under the prospect category very much longer, especially after a great introduction into the NHL. He scored the Los Angeles Kings’ only goal in their 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night.
The Kings’ 2019 second-round pick (33rd overall) made his NHL debut wearing the slick purple “Reverse Retro” uniform. Early in the second period, the young winger went right to the net with his stick on the ice and was rewarded with a rebound goal. He became the 21st player in Kings’ franchise history to score in his first NHL game.
“There’s nothing that I didn’t like,” head coach Todd McLellan said about Kaliyev. “He’s a young player that is, he was excited to play. The guys were excited for him. That gave us a little bit of life and a little bit of energy, so when a 19-year-old can come in and do that … He’s obviously dangerous when he’s got the puck and in and around the net.”
Performing on a big stage is nothing new for Kailyev. In his first taste on the Ontario Hockey League playoffs, at age 16, he had three goals and 11 points in 21 games. He has represented the United States in each of the last two World Junior Championships. In 12 total games, he had seven goals and 14 points and played a big role in their gold medal win last month.
While the results aren’t great for the Kings to start the 2020-21 NHL season, Kaiyev is just one of many highly-touted prospects coming up through their system. The future is bright in La La Land.
Wild Prospects Lead the Way for BC
The Boston College Eagles and Northeastern Huskies wrote another chapter of their Green Line Rivalry on Tuesday night. A trio of Wild draft picks helped the top-rated Eagles beat the No. 14 Huskies 6-2.
Nikita Nesterenko, drafted by Minnesota in the sixth round (172nd overall) of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, tied the game about four minutes after Northeastern opened the scoring. The freshman got the front of the net to swipe home a rebound for the Eagles’ first goal of the night.
His fellow Wild prospects Jack McBain and Marshall Warren had the assists on the play. Nesterenko now has six goals and 13 points in the first 13 games of his college career.
Marshall doubled the Eagles’ lead in the second period, shortly after they went 3-2, as his shot from the point found its way through heavy traffic and into the back of the net.
Also drafted in the sixth round (166th overall) in 2019 by the Wild, the young defenseman has two goals, six points and a plus-9 rating in 13 games. McBain, Minnesota’s 2018 third-round pick (63rd overall), scored Boston College’s final goal of the night during the last minute of play. Each of the three Wild picks had a goal and an assist in the win.
William Dufour Stays Hot in the Q
Dufour was the last person who wanted the QMJHL to go on an extended holiday break. Ending into the nearly two-month pause of the season, he had six goals in his last five games. The Islanders’ 2020 fifth-round draft pick (152nd overall) has picked up right where he left off.
He scored the Drummondville Voltigeurs’ opening goal in their 5-2 loss to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on Tuesday night. However, it was his goal during Saturday’s night 6-3 win over the Sherbrooke Phoenix.
Dufour drove right up the middle of the ice, skating through all five Phoenix players on the ice before flicking a quick snapshot into the net. The 6-foot-3 center now has nine goals on the season, all of them coming in his last 10 games.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.