Off the ice, Kings free agent acquisition Kyle Calder is a little bit Country, playing soft rock on his acoustic guitar and hitting the golf course during his free time.
On the ice, however, Calder is a little bit Rock’ N Roll, providing a high energy, physical presence on the wing.
“I just work hard and get in there and try to frustrate the other team’s players,” Calder said. “I bring some hard work and a little bit of ‘grindiness.’”
Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi refers to Calder’s physical play as providing ‘a little jam on the wings.’
Lombardi also compares him to one of his former players in San Jose, a player known for his defensive responsibility and back-checking abilities: “Calder plays that Mike Ricci-type game that I love so much,” Lombardi said. “He’s a good hockey player.”
The 28-year-old Calder enters the season with 99 career goals and two 20-goal seasons on his resume since being drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the fifth round (130th overall) in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.
Calder would see action in parts of six seasons in Chicago before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for, ironically enough, Michal Handzus, prior to the 2006-07 season.
Handzus, of course, also signed with the Kings on July 2.
“It is pretty ironic how that worked,” Calder said. “There are 30 teams out there and we ended up on the same one. At the same time it is a business and that is the way it works out sometimes.”
Calder has gotten to learn the business pretty well over the last year. After spending nine years in the Blackhawks organization, Calder was traded to the flyers in the aforementioned deal for Handzus on Aug. 4, 2006.
With Philadelphia out of contention and Detroit looking for some help at the forward spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs, Calder then was dealt back to the Blackhawks, albeit momentarily, before being traded to the Red Wings as part of a three-team deal that landed Calder in Motown, Lasse Kukkonen and a draft pick in Philadelphia and Jason Williams in Chicago.
Now he is in Los Angeles, signing with the Kings for the next two years.
“It has kind of been a little crazy this past year,” Calder said. “But I think I already found a home here. I have been out here for a couple of days now and I am really excited and looking forward to the endeavor.
“It is a good mix here with the guys they have signed and I am really excited to get started”
Kings fans may remember Calder, nicknamed Grease due to his ‘play along the boards,’ for more than just his time in Chicago, as he also played in the YoungStars Game at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles during the 2001-02 season.
That season also marked Calder’s first trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native tallied two of Chicago’s five total goals as St. Louis dispatched the ‘Hawks in five games.
This past season Calder returned to the playoffs with Detroit, seeing action in 13 games, scoring 0-1-1, with +1 plus/minus rating and 13 shots on goal.
He is hoping to get another chance in 2007-08.
“You look at this roster and there is a great group of core players that are a big part of this team. To be a part of this is going to be awesome, we are only going to go up from here.”