The regular season is finally here with preseason in the rearview mirror its time to drop the puck on the 21-22 season. The preseason had its ups, downs, and a few surprises along the way. The Kings kick off the season at home against Vegas on 10/14 and look for a few new names to be in the lineup.
Arthur Kaliyev and Vladimir Tkachev were the two bright spots this preseason. Kaliyev put up 5 points in 3 games leading the team in scoring and potentially played his way onto the opening night roster. Tkachev, who had a lot of question marks coming into camp stood out offensively putting up 3 points in 5 games. These 2 rookie additions to the opening night lineup should give the Kings some added fire power up front. Fellow rookie Quinton Byfield unfortunately was unable to find similar success. Byfield fractured his ankle on an awkward hit in the corner and will be out indefinitely.
It’s no secret the kings have struggled with goal scoring over the years and last year was much of the same. Finishing the season with no 20 goal scorers and having 37-year-old Dustin Brown lead the team in goal scoring is not a recipe for success. The acquisitions of Arvidsson and Danault along with rookies Tkachev and Kaliyev making the lineup should give the Kings the jolt of offense needed to make a playoff push this season. When you factor in Danault’s defensive abilities as well, it will take some of the defensive responsibilities away from Kopitar which should allow him to flourish offensively and possibly put up another Hart trophy type year.
Overall, the Kings have more depth than they’ve had in years. Kopitar and Danault will give the Kings a strong 1-2 punch with 2 of the best defensive centers in the league. Adding Arvidsson, Tkachev, and Kaliyev give the Kings 3 scoring wingers. Look for young-guns Vilardi, Andersson, Bjornfot, and goaltender Cal Peterson to take the next step in their development as well. This season will be Petersons first full season as a true number one goaltender and after posting a 1.29 GAA for Team USA with 2 shutouts at the World Championship this summer, expectations are high. Look for the Kings to have an opening night lineup of:
Arvidsson| Kopitar | Brown
Kempe | Danault | Iaffalo
Tkachev | Vilardi | Andersson
Moore | Lizotte | Kaliyev
Anderson | Doughty
Bjornfot | Roy
Edler | Walker
Peterson | Quick
It’s going to be a fun year Kings fans and we get the chrome domes again!