2024 Kings Seasons In Review – Partial NHL Seasons, Forwards

A look here at the four players who missed at least 20 games during the regular season due to a variety of different reasons.

The quartet of Viktor Arvidsson, Carl Grundstrom, Arthur Kaliyev and Blake Lizotte each played NHL games this season with no games in the AHL. For one reason or another, each of these four players featured for the Kings throughout the season in a variety of different roles, or perhaps a lack there of. Recapping their seasons below to kick off the team’s forwards.

Viktor Arvidsson
NHL Statline – 18 games played, 6 goals, 9 assists, +4 rating, 14 penalty minutes
NHL Playoff Statline – 5 games played, 0 goals, 3 assists, -1 rating, 0 penalty minutes

For Arvidsson, he missed the bulk of the season due to injury.

Arvidsson suffered a back injury during training camp which required him to have back surgery for the second time in 24 months. After missing October, November, December and January due to injury, Arvidsson returned for four games before an unrelated injury took him back out of the lineup into mid-March. Arvidsson played a total of 18 games and for the work he put in coming back from injury, Arvidsson was selected as the Kings nominee for the Masterton Trophy. When coming back, Arvidsson was nearly a point-per-game player with 15 points from 18 games played. He showed flashes of the playmaking threat he was for the Kings over the last two years in that time. It also took him a bit of time to get to that level but I think that was expected.

Arvidsson’s individual metrics this season, in terms of chance creation, were better over 18 games than they were last season, though not quite to the heights of his 2021-22 campaign, where he ranked among the league leaders in multiple categories. At his best, Arvidsson is a volume shooter offensively, who provides both a shooting mentality and playmaking skills that complement Phillip Danault and Trevor Moore. He didn’t always play there this season and that line wasn’t as dominant as it was in the past. Arvidsson was returning from a pair of back surgeries and we saw flashes of Arvidsson at that level when he returned to action.

Ultimately, the Kings placed a lot of eggs in the Arvidsson basket at the trade deadline. The team did not make moves to either add to or subtract from the NHL roster. Arvidsson was viewed as that addition, seeing as he played in just three full games prior to. From that lens, Arvidsson was about as good a player as the Kings could have acquired and he didn’t cost anything. The Kings clicked at 26.7 percent on the power play after Arvidsson returned the second time and were at 36.7 percent during the four games he played the first time around. He was nearly a point-per-game and they averaged 3.47 goals-per-game with Arvidsson in the lineup. Good numbers. Ultimately, though, while the team performed better with him in the regular season, the playoffs did not bear similar fruit. Arvidsson had three assists from five games, but the uptick in offense and power-play production did not translate.

2023-24 Status – Arvidsson is an unrestricted free agent this summer on July 1.

His answers during exit interviews were pretty vague. It’s clear for Arvidsson, and it makes perfect sense, that this is an important contract for him. After playing in just 18 games, at his age and the stage he’s at career-wise, it’s a big moment in Arvidsson’s career. Possibly the last time he’ll have the chance to sign a contract with term. It’s got to make sense for him and for the team and the Kings are tight on space to retain everyone. Would love to, personally, see Arvidsson get rewarded for the player he’s been for the Kings over the last three years. Hard luck with injuries is what could prevent that and that’s not fair to him. Not sure if the Kings will have the room to do that, but if the two sides could make things work, he’ll be welcomely retained as an impact, offensive player.

Carl Grundstrom
NHL Statline – 50 games played, 8 goals, 4 assist, -2 rating, 12 penalty minutes
AHL Statline – 5 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists, even rating, 0 penalty minutes

Grundstrom’s season began guns blazing from an offensive perspective. Six goals from his first 14 games played on a red-hot Kings team to begin the season. A few games later he scored again, on November 25 against Montreal. Grundstrom’s next goal came on January 31 in Nashville. Two games later, he suffered a lower-body injury that kept him out until the postseason.

In terms of the metrics, Grundstrom was a per/60 darling this season, as he has been in past years. He either led the team or ranked towards the top of the charts in several individual offensive categories on a per/60 basis, including scoring chances. In terms of his actual usage, it’s never translated into more than a bottom-six role for more than a game or two at a time. What was the disconnect? Grundstrom is a simple player who knows his game. He plays in straight lines, he’s got a good wrist shot and is willing to forecheck and play the body. He’s embraced the role he’s gotten but his body of work has never shown more than where he’s played, at least with the Kings. Spurts higher in the lineup have never clicked for longer than a few games here and there.

Perhaps this season is the perfect example of falling into an in between role at times. Grundstrom’s per/60 chances created, and even goals scored, measured favorably amongst Kings skaters. A lot of that was front-loaded though and it all rounded out as the season progressed. It’s okay to acknowledge the player that Grundstrom is. An effective bottom-six forward who embraces a certain style of play, who impacts the game when he’s on the ice, but might be best suited to play that role. A shot that’s better than eight goals hasn’t translated into more. For the most part, Grundstrom wasn’t asked to play a larger role than that this season and he played the part he was offered effectively.

2023-24 Status – Grundstrom is a restricted free agent this summer and will need a new contract to return for the 2024-25 season.

As of last week, Kings General Manager Rob Blake indicated that contact had been made with each of the team’s free agents. That would, presumably, include Grundstrom. For the Kings, there is an evaluation of the overall picture with regards to the salary cap. Grundstrom counted for $1.3 million against the salary cap last season and would be in line for a qualifying offer at that number this summer. The Kings like the direct, physical style that Grundstrom plays with. There’s also a salary cap. The Kings have players coming up who they believe are ready to assume depth roles within the organization, players who come at a lower cap charge. Interesting to see how that situation unfolds this summer.

Arthur Kaliyev
NHL Statline – 51 games played, 7 goals, 8 assists, -3 rating, 14 penalty minutes

The biggest positive to Arthur Kaliyev’s season came early.

Here was a player who seemed to work on things the Kings asked him to over the summer, who seemed to try and play the way the Kings wanted him to and who found himself in Viktor Arvidsson’s spot following his injury. In his first nine games he played, Kaliyev had seven points (3-4-7). Life was good. Until it wasn’t. Kaliyev eventually found himself moved out of that spot to accommodate lines that were not working and he never found his way back there.

I don’t think any of us know exactly what happened between that point and where we are at now. What became clear is that something happened and it wasn’t something routine. Rumors, reports of a trade request back in January were widely publicized and more or less confirmed by Todd McLellan. Comments from Jim Hiller and Rob Blake at the end of the season did not leave much open to interpretation. A trade request, though, does not simply alienate a player in the way that Kaliyev seemed to be at times in the second half. The production certainly dried up in the second half, but there was obviously a massive disconnect with regards to Kaliyev’s standing within the organization. What, precisely, that was is something that remains behind closed doors for now. It certainly derailed Kaliyev’s season and perhaps his future with the organization as well.

2023-24 Status – Kaliyev is a restricted free agent this summer and would need to be qualified by the Kings in order for the team to retain his rights. For Kaliyev to return to play for the Kings, it’s obvious that a solution would need to be reached to better include him into the fold. It’s also obvious that the Kings believe that Kaliyev has trade value because they opted to keep him on the active roster down the stretch. Feels as if this situation is headed in a certain direction and we’ll see how it ultimately plays out.

Blake Lizotte
NHL Statline – 62 games played, 7 goals, 8 assists, +11 rating, 20 penalty minutes
NHL Playoff Statline – 5 games played, 1 goals, 0 assists, even rating, 2 penalty minutes

Biggest thing that stood out for me with regards to Lizotte was his presence on a revamped LA Kings penalty kill, as well as his overall defensive impact. Lizotte was regularly the first forward over the boards when the Kings were shorthanded and brought his energy and direction to shorthanded situations. Of all regulars on the penalty kill, forwards or defensemen, Lizotte led the team in terms of fewest goals against on a per/60 basis. Among regular forwards at 5-on-5, the same statistic applies – Lizotte led all regular Kings skaters in terms of fewest goals against on a per/60 basis. Lizotte did Lizotte things and was a rock defensively throughout the course of the season.

Lizotte and forward Trevor Lewis were a pair that proved to be quite effective when playing together. Less so when partnered with other players. The duo were on the ice for 14 goals for, compared to 10 against, over a 58-percent goal share. The underlying chances were over 53 percent in each category when together and under 50 percent when apart. The Lizotte/Lewis pairing exceeded team rates in several categories, including percentage of high-danger chances controlled. Not bad from two-thirds of your fourth line.

He had a tough season with regards to injuries. Neither of the two times he missed games due to injury were long-term issues, but you could tell it took him some time in each situation to get back up to speed. For Lizotte, he’s perhaps more reliant than most on being at 100 percent. It’s not a knock on him, but it felt like the time he missed this season prevented him from establishing a more regular rhythm throughout the course of the season. The numbers won’t show it and we saw plenty of nights when Lizotte was doing what he does, delivering energy, dragging others into games when the team lacked it. It’s tough to do that, though, night after night when you’re playing catchup yourself at times to get back to full fitness.

2024-25 Status – Similar to Grundstrom, Lizotte is a restricted free agent this summer. Also similar to Grundstrom, Lizotte’s qualifying offer would be at $1,675,000 cap hit and his play might merit a raise beyond that. Could be a number that starts with 2. Look, I think everyone would love for Lizotte to stick around. I would personally, in a defined, 4C role. His compete, drive and energy are unmatched. Again though, Lizotte has filled that fourth-line center role throughout much of his tenure and his contract could be a raise from what he made this season. It’s a tough decision. The Kings have limited salary-cap space and have younger players who could be close to NHL ready. I’d love to see Lizotte back but it’s got to make sense for player and team. We’ll see.

Diving in next to Lizotte’s running mate this season, Trevor Lewis, and then on we go throughout the forwards. Some ups and downs to review throughout the lineup, certainly.

Rules for Blog Commenting

  • No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other comments, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • Please do not discuss, or post links to websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.

Repeated violations of the blog rules will result in site bans, commensurate with the nature and number of offenses.

Please flag any comments that violate the site rules for moderation. For immediate problems regarding problematic posts, please email zdooley@lakings.com.