LA Kings training camp officially opened on Thursday. Here are the three best position battles to monitor before the season opens.
General Manager Rob Blake spoke with LA Kings media on Wednesday ahead of the team’s training camp officially opening up on Thursday morning. He primarily discussed the organization’s plans for Quinton Byfield and some of the other top prospects, whose respective league’s schedules are in limbo. Byfield and Arthur Kaliyev, of course, would likely have joined their OHL clubs under normal circumstances, but the tentative February 4 start date has been pushed back.
Alex Turcotte will begin the year with the Ontario Reign of the AHL. Several questions came up during Blake’s Zoom call regarding whether the AHL would allow exemptions for players who don’t meet the age requirements for a place to play in 2021. Nothing is official, but that could potentially be one avenue, or the LA Kings could add Byfield and Kaliyev to the taxi squad. But again, they would have to be AHL-eligible.
Still, Blake was adamant that the organization would not be burning a year of their entry-level contracts, but they could see some time while remaining under the seven-game threshold. Of course, doing so presents some unique challenges in that Byfield and Kaliyev would likely be limited to practices with the NHL squad until they find permanent homes in other leagues.
Does that benefit their development? Possibly, but it’s likely best for them to get regular playing time. So as the LA Kings players find their footing in training camp, running through the drills, players will start to separate themselves for the Opening Night roster. Here are the three best position battles to monitor in camp.