Kings to Watch at Upcoming World Championships
If there was anyone who needed this tournament to kickstart a strong season it’s Cal Petersen.
Not quite the best-on-best international tournament everyone wants. The World Championships are the closest thing we get right now.
The Kings are well-represented at this tournament with four members of the organization heading to Finland/Latvia.
You can't read too much into performances at this tournament but players do sometimes build momentum at the World Championships they take into the next season. With Trevor Moore and Andrew Mangiapane as two recent examples.
Grundstrom was announced for Team Sweden's roster on Tuesday and is making his second straight appearance at this tournament.
Last year he had just one goal and one assist in his two games and will be hoping for a better return this year.
One of just six NHL forwards on this roster for Sweden, I'd expect to play a fairly significant role on this team, assuming no late additions are made that push him out.
I don't think we'll learn anything about Grundstrom at this tournament but he is a player who can make a splash. If he gets hot at the right time, he can grab five or six goals and lead his team in that category.
We know what Grundstrom is, a streaky scorer who looks unstoppable when the puck is going in for him, but a little hopeless with the puck when it isn't. He'll always have that physical element to his game, which is a plus, but he struggles when the puck isn't going in for him.
There's going to be a battle for spots at the bottom of the Kings' lineup this summer. And a strong performance at this tournament would be a good start for Grundstrom.
If there was anyone who needed this tournament to kickstart a strong season it's Cal Petersen.
The $5 million goalie who spent most of last season in the AHL, Petersen's a big blemish on Rob Blake's resume right now. But Blake and the organization maintain that he can be an NHL goalie next season.
Daniel Fischbuch's shot somehow goes between Cal Petersen's legs and it's 4-3 late now. What an ending to this exhibition game. pic.twitter.com/XREEMJGc9R
— Steven Ellis (@SEllisHockey) May 9, 2023
It wasn't a great start for Petersen, who let in this soft goal to allow Germany back into the game late. But that's just one goal in an exhibition game, I wouldn't write the tournament off for him just yet.
It's entirely possible that he backs up Casey DeSmith for most of this tournament and we don't see much of him. But he was excellent the last time he represented the USA at the World Championships so I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a few games. Especially if DeSmith struggles.
I still think Blake is posturing a little bit when he says Petersen can be an NHL goalie next season. You don't want the whole league to know you've given up on him and a strong tournament could help his trade value a bit.
The Kings would still be paying a team to take on Petersen's contract, but a strong performance might bring that price down a bit.
Maybe a strong tournament is the catalyst for a massive bounce back for Petersen?
Maybe the most interesting player at this tournament for the Kings, Martin Chromiak is representing the Slovakia men's team for the first time in his career.
Chromiak is coming off an impressive rookie campaign in the AHL. He finished with 15 goals and 28 points in 55 games which included a red-hot eight-game point streak and a stretch of 17 points in 16 games.
I'll admit, I'm not on the Chromiak hype train like some others. He's a good prospect, but still in the second tier within the Kings' system.
As always with Chromiak, look for him to make an impact with his skill, especially his shot, at this tournament.
It will be interesting to see his role for Slovakia. He's the youngest forward on the team and one of just five NHL draft picks up front for Slovakia.
If he gets top-six minutes and top power play time, he could have a decently productive tournament.
He's a skilled player with some legit NHL tools, but I'm concerned he falls into that, not good enough to be a top-six forward and not suited for a bottom-six role, category.
A strong performance at this tournament and a breakout AHL season next year could change that view, but right now I don't view him as a guaranteed impact player in the NHL.
The last Kings representative at this tournament is AHL superstar T.J. Tynan.
Tynan is the reigning, back-to-back AHL MVP, and was one of the league's most productive player's again last season. His 73 assists led all players by 13.
It's his second straight season at this tournament and he grabbed five assists and no goal in six games last year.
A 31-year-old career AHLer, there's no future for Tynan on the Kings' roster. He's signed through next season though and is a key part of the Reign.
He helps that team win games and stay competitive and is a good leader for the team's prospects.
His performance at this tournament doesn't matter for the Kings, but it's nice to see him rewarded for being the AHL's best player over the last few seasons.