In the wake of Viktor Arvidsson’s injury, the Los Angeles Kings found themselves facing a critical lineup decision. The spotlight shifted to young prospect Alex Laferriere, who had impressed in his first two games. However, with Arthur Kaliyev returning from suspension, questions arose about where Laferriere would fit into the lineup. Would Coach Todd McLellan keep the rookie forward alongside Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kevin Fiala, or would he make room for Kaliyev on that line?
- McLellan chose to keep Laferriere, Dubois, and Fiala together due to their initial success and impressive possession control.
- Laferriere’s strong start in the NHL earned him the opportunity to stay with two star players, and his defensive responsibility added value to the line.
- While Laferriere may not possess the raw offensive firepower of Kaliyev, he complements Dubois and Fiala by improving their defensive play and providing a different look.
On the other hand, Kaliyev found himself on a line with Trevor Moore and Phil Danault. This trio aims to capitalize on their respective strengths and weaknesses.
Kaliyev With Danault & Moore:
Trevor Moore and Phil Danault are known for their speed, defensive responsibility, and tenacity, qualities that Kaliyev doesn’t excel in. Kaliyev’s strength lies in finishing chances, and with Danault and Moore, he’s likely to get ample opportunities.
Moore has consistently been one of the Kings’ top creators of high-danger chances, and Danault’s playmaking abilities should complement Kaliyev’s scoring prowess. Danault’s knack for finding loose pucks around the net aligns well with Kaliyev’s shooting abilities.
However, the question remains: can Kaliyev keep up with the speed of Danault and Moore? This challenge will test Kaliyev’s improved skating and endurance, as highlighted by McLellan during the summer. Moreover, McLellan expects Kaliyev to bring more physicality to this line, a style that complements Danault and Moore’s play.
If Kaliyev can match the pace of his linemates, this trio promises to be highly productive under McLellan’s guidance. The Kings’ coaching staff’s strategic line choices could be the key to their success in the upcoming games as they navigate through injuries and suspensions.
“Well, what does he do well? He’s a big man, he skates, he shoots, that has to be in his game,” said McLellan on what Kaliyev can bring to the team. “I think there has to be more physicality to his game, we saw that in exhibition season. He seems to be more confident and I think his engine is better. So, it sounds like we have a player but it still has to happen on the ice and he’ll get that opportunity to deliver.”