For Byfield and Kaliyev, the LA Kings should say no to the OHL

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
LA Kings Arthur Kaliyev
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /

LA will be a tremendous learning experience for Byfield and Kaliyev.

A reason for sending Byfield and Kaliyev back to the OHL this season is often given is concern over burning the first year of their entry-level contracts. To put it simply, they can be brought up to the LA Kings and avoid burning the first year of their entry-level deals.

It has everything to do with the number of games they would play in Los Angeles. Byfield can play seven games in the NHL, while Kaliyev can play six before the first year of their ELC’s kick in. With the team normally carrying fourteen forwards, two current roster players would have to be sent to either the taxi squad or Ontario.

Let’s say Blake Lizotte and Austin Wagner are the candidates to be moved to make room. The Kings would risk losing either or both to waivers, and while it’s usually never good to lose players for nothing, the team might actually benefit as it would open contract space as they are nearing the 50 contract limit.

In this scenario, Byfield and Kaliyev would act as the extra forwards. Coach Todd McLellan could then get Byfield his six games and Kaliyev his five games at his discretion. If the LA Kings get hit with injuries and Byfield and Kaliyev are at or near their game limit, then simply backfill from Ontario or the taxi squad. It might require roster gymnastics, but if Byfield’s and Kaliyev’s games are spaced out strategically, it can be done.

The huge benefit of having Byfield and Kaliyev with the LA Kings as opposed to the OHL isn’t even the games they would play – it is the NHL practice and coaching time they would get. Learning from veterans like Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and the Kings coaching staff is far more beneficial than dominating the Ontario Hockey League, not to mention the exposure of what life is like at the NHL level and what to expect.

Another point to keep in mind, if they were to go to the OHL, Byfield and Kaliyev will have to quarantine for two full weeks, meaning they lose fourteen days of hockey after already losing half of a season due to pandemic circumstances.

Next. West Division power rankings after Week 10. dark

In conclusion, the benefits of having Quinton Byfield and Arthur Kaliyev in LA far outweigh the benefits of having them go back to the OHL. While I’m sure that they enjoyed their time in the OHL, Byfield and Kaliyev would like it this way as well.