LA Kings: Quinton Byfield finds footing with monster performance

LA Kings (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

After a slow start to the WJC, LA Kings second overall pick Quinton Byfield posted a six-point night in Canada’s 10-0 win over Switzerland.

Quinton Byfield had been quiet through his first couple of games in WJC action. The LA Kings 2020 second overall pick was expected to have a much larger role than last year’s World Juniors, but he had just an assist through the first two games.

On Tuesday, Team Canada faced a significantly weaker Team Switzerland. Byfield jumped out to a fast start, assisting Nashville Predators’ 2019 first-round pick Philip Tomasino just 90 seconds into the opening period.

That would do it for the scoring in the first period. After Team Canada tacked on another goal early into the second period, Byfield logged a secondary assist when he fed Connor Zary in the high slot, whose shot went wide of the net. Jakob Pelletier was there for the put-back from a challenging angle on the left side.

Just over five minutes later, Byfield added his third point and assist of the evening on Ryan Suzuki’s goal.

Entering the third period with a 5-0 lead, Team Canada headed to the power play. Jamie Drysdale lined up a shot with Byfield re-directing the puck into the back of the net for his first goal in WJC play.

"“I think that’s a big relief,” said Byfield. “Not getting a goal last year definitely hurt a little. But I wouldn’t take that back for anything, we still came home with a gold medal. Same objective here. Nice to get a goal and produce. I’m definitely happy with that.”"

And less than three minutes later, Jack Quinn sent a beautiful pass across the ice for Byfield, who buried it past Swiss netminder Noah Patenaude.

With 4:27 left in the third period, Byfield completed his big evening, racing from behind the net and fed Pelletier with a short pass on the right side, who scored his second goal of the evening as well. Byfield’s assist was his sixth point of the game.

The LA Kings prized pick in the 2020 draft didn’t play a single shift in Team Canada’s gold medal game in January 2020. He is still the youngest player on this year’s squad, but fans were chattering unease for someone drafted that high, especially while 2020 third overall pick Tim Stuztle has played so well for an understaffed Team Germany.

Byfield added 10-15 pounds of muscle to his frame and had not played in a meaningful game in quite some time. His offensive outburst only confirmed how talented the 18-year-old is, and Byfield could be finding a hot streak at the right time.

"“In camp, not playing hockey for 8-9 months definitely affects you,” Byfield said. “I had to ease myself into it a little bit. I’ve found my footing now.”"

To no surprise, Byfield was named the Player of the Game for Team Canada, who has an important game against LA Kings 2020 third-round pick Kasper Simontaival and Team Finland on Friday night. It looks like head coach André Tourigny plans on keeping the Byfield – Quinn – Pelletier line intact.

Other LA Kings prospects in WJC action

Alex Turcotte

Team USA had a dominating 7-0 performance over Team Czech Republic. Alex Turcotte failed to make the box score, but he took a hit from Radek Kucerik behind the net that kept him down on the ice for a brief period of time. He skated off under his own power and stayed in the game.

Arthur Kaliyev

Kaliyev registered four shots on goal, scoring on a power play with 11:42 to go in the final period. The LA Kings 33rd overall pick in the second round of the 2019 draft received a pass from Cam York, skated in just outside the left dot, and sniping a shot past Lukas Parik’s short side. After shutting out Team Russia, Parik allowed all seven goals, saving 23-of-30 shots he faced.