LA Kings: Five most important players for 2021 season

LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
3 of 6
LA Kings Draft Quinton Byfield
LA Kings (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images) /

Quinton Byfield

Expectations will always be high for a player drafted as high as Quinton Byfield was, but Kings fans should be patient with the 18-year-old if he makes the team this season.

Comparisons to Ottawa Senators rookie forward Tim Stuetzle seem inevitable. After all, he was the other player considered to be a possibility for the Kings with the second-overall pick, but they decided to go with the big center from the Sudbury Wolves in Byfield.

It’s important to remember, though, that Stuetzle is seven months older than Byfield and has experience playing professionally against men in Germany. Byfield has tremendous upside but was also considered rawer.

If Stuetzle has the better rookie season, it doesn’t mean we should already say the Kings made the wrong choice. Rather than comparing Byfield to Stuetzle or Alexis Lafrenière or anyone else, the best way to judge Byfield’s rookie season will be how much better he is at the end of it than he was at the start of it.

Byfield is the crown jewel of the Kings’ rebuild, and he’ll have plenty of eyes on him, but he doesn’t need to win the Calder (Trophy) for LA to feel good about his rookie season.

First things first, though — after a quiet showing at last year’s World Juniors, Byfield needs to put together a dominant performance for Canada at this year’s tournament to show the Kings he’s ready for the next level.