With only a day before the puck drops for the 2021-22 regular season, rosters are taking shape and a few surprise cuts have been announced by teams.
Some notable rookies sent down to the AHL were Calen Addison – Minnesota, Alex Turcotte – Los Angeles, Josef Korenar – Arizona, David Farrance – Nashville, Pierre-Olivier Joseph – Pittsburgh, Scott Perunovich – St. Louis and Liam Foudy – Columbus as of Sunday night.
Matt Boldy in Minnesota and Quinton Byfield in Los Angeles were both injured and could be out for a while.
Here are my Top 10 rookies for 2021-22:
#10 – Arthur Kaliyev – (F) – Los Angeles
All Kaliyev has done during his brief career is score goals and points at every level he has been at. He played one game last year with the Kings and scored a goal. He played four games this pre-season and had four goals and six points with three of those points on the powerplay. The 20-year-old who was drafted 33rd overall in 2019 has some deficiencies in his game with no doubt, but the Kings who are craving offense need him. Unfortunately, even with his pre-season, he only played 9:58 per game, not an indication that the Kings are serious about keeping him up this year.
In his last two seasons of playing in the OHL, Kaliyev had 95 goals in 124 games, more than any other player over the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons combined. In his first season in the AHL last year, he had 14 goals and 31 points in 40 games. He also squeezed in the World Juniors last year with Team USA and had three goals and eight points in seven games. If the Kings gave him a chance as a regular he might be capable of 15-20 goals and 35-40 points, but he is a risky pick here.
#9 – Evan Bouchard (D) – Edmonton
Now that he is 21-years old and has 21 NHL games of experience, I think Bouchard is ready for a full-time role with the Oilers this season. When the Oilers brought back Tyson Barrie for three more years at $4.5 million AAV it wasn't the best news for Bouchard and having him inherit the much-envied PP1 quarterback spot on this team.
Bouchard will need to produce with 16-18 minutes of ice time per night and play well enough that it forces the hands of the coaches to play him over