Arthur Kaliyev has been one of the top scores in the OHL for the past two seasons now. He has exploded offencively and his shot has terrorized goaltenders. The most impressive part, however, is that he has been able to translate his tantalizing shot and scoring ability against the best of competition.
Arthur Kaliyev Proves No Competition is Too Strong
Really ever since he got to the OHL, Arthur Kaliyev has exploded offensively, especially when it comes to goal scoring. As a rookie, he scored 31 goals in 68 games. He followed that with a dominant 51 goals in 67 games during his draft year. This was good enough to get him drafted 33rd overall in the 2019 NHL Draft by the Los Angeles Kings. Following his draft year, Kaliyev scored 44 goals in just 57 games. This was enough to put him on pace to score 52 goals over a full 68 game season.
While Kaliyev’s goal scoring numbers are very impressive, what’s more impressive is how this production was distributed. When looking into his scoring, specifically in the 2019-20 season, the way it breaks down is very encouraging.
Kaliyev’s Scoring Breakdown
Shown in the chart above is a breakdown of Arthur Kaliyev’s scoring from the 2019-20 OHL season. The chart is broken down into three categories: teams .500 and over, teams under .500, and overall. Overall is a combination of teams below and above .500, so just his normal stats. If a team is over .500 it means they won more games than they lost. The only team to finish the OHL season last year with an even record was the Erie Otters at 26-26.
What Stands Out
The clear standout stat in this chart is Kaliyev’s goals per games played values (G/GP). As you can see, he scored goals at a higher rate against teams above .500 compared to those below, and overall.
What it Means
To be able to score goals at a higher rate against better teams than against worse ones is pretty incredible. Kaliyev was able to elevate his play against higher competition, which is something that is very important to player development. Not only did he elevate his play, but he elevated the best part of his play, his goal-scoring ability.
If Arthur Kaliyev is going to be an impactful NHL player, it will mainly be due to his ability to score goals. So far throughout his young career, he has been able to do it at just about every level. He did it in the OHL against where he produced better against stronger competition. He did it in the 2019 CHL Top Prospects Game where he scored two goals and an assist. Kaliyev did it at the 2020 World Junior Championship where he scored four goals and two assists for six points in five games (in a somewhat limited role too). He even scored in Kings rookie camp scrimmages against the Anaheim Ducks last year.
Literally speaking, there has been no occasion or level so far where Kaliyev has not been able to impose his lethal goal-scoring ability.
Why This Matters
When evaluating prospects, one of the biggest questions that need to be asked is “does his game translate?” So far for Kaliyev, the answer to that question has been yes. The underlying stats show that he is able to take the strongest part of his game and incorporate it at every level he’s played in. At the OHL level, he’s been able to impose it on some of the best teams in the league. When a prospect graduates to the NHL, they need to be able to make their game translate at a higher level. By showing signs of being able to do this through the breakdown of his OHL production, Kaliyev’s development looks to be on the right path. While there’s no guarantee that he will translate his play, seeing him do it at every level so far is very encouraging for both Kaliyev and the Kings.
He hasn’t had the chance to prove himself at the NHL level yet, as he’s still just 19 years old. He will be expected to compete for a roster spot on the Kings next season. Due to his age, Kaliyev is ineligible to play for the Ontario Reign in the AHL. His only options are NHL or OHL, and because there will be some older, more mature players competing for the same roster spot as him, expect him to spend one more season in the OHL.
If Kaliyev becomes a successful NHLer, it will predominantly be because of his goal-scoring abilities. He has been able to translate these abilities to every level he’s played at so far, and in the OHL specifically, against the better half of the league. While he hasn’t had his chance to prove that he can do it in the NHL too, all signs of his production currently show that he is more than capable of translating the most important part of his game.