LA Kings: Mid-season organization’s prospect rankings, the top five

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
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LA Kings Byfield
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Quinton Byfield – 18 y/o – C – 2020 Round 1 #2 overall

AHL – Ontario Reign – 19 GP-5G-8A-13P

There is a good argument that Quinton Byfield is the best hockey player not yet currently playing in the NHL. The number two overall pick may have been a debate among some, and while that debate between Stutzle and Byfield may linger for some time, any critics to the Kings for taking the young center from Newmarket, ON have recently been silenced. And now talk may shift to whether Byfield was the best player in the 2020 NHL draft.

Quinton Byfield is a unique player. I’ve seen comparisons to Anze Kopitar and Evgeni Malkin, but with respect to those players, neither have the speed Byfield has, and that is what makes this player so special. Quinton has all the makings of a superstar in the NHL. His playmaking ability to go along with his size and speed is one of a kind. Player Comparison

Hockey Prospecting Dashboard (3)
Hockey Prospecting Dashboard (3) /

Tony Ferrari Scouting Report

"“A player with an incredible ceiling, Byfield possesses a size, speed, and skill combination seldom seen in a player at his age. One of the younger players in his draft class, Byfield dominates with his ability to see the ice and put his teammates into excellent scoring positions. His ascent to the Kings number one center position may be a couple of years away but the patience will be well worth it for the dual-threat pivot.”"

After a quiet 2021 WJC on the silver medal-winning Team Canada, Byfield was given a unique opportunity to begin his professional career earlier than it may have during normal times. Over the course of his first professional year with the Ontario Reign, Byfield’s confidence has grown with each passing game. Shift after shift, he is learning, and that’s exactly what Kings’ fans want to see with this young prodigy, growth.

Byfield is an entertaining player to watch, as he does things on a hockey rink seldom seen from a player of his size. His best trait is obviously his ability to get to top speed much quicker than other players, and with the length of his stride, he has the skill to surprise players with backchecks that seem to come out of nowhere and blow past players in a race toward a loose puck.

Quinton has turned it on of late for the Reign. He has goals in four straight games and six total points in the last five games played. The chemistry he’s starting to create with fellow teammate Akil Thomas has caught the eye of many around the organization. With Turcotte and Kaliyev seemingly connected at the hip on box scores, a combination of Byfield and Thomas would be great news for the Kings.

As mentioned in the Kaliyev ranking, the Kings have a potentially big decision coming up for Byfield, but if you listen to most Kings’ fans, it should be an easy one. If the Kings do end up missing out on a playoff spot toward the end of the season, fans will still have something to look forward to, and that will be the potential debut of Byfield.

Getting him up to the big club after a stint with the Reign would be great for his development, as learning from some of the Kings players would be beneficial for the young center. I mean, who better to learn how to play a solid two-way game in the NHL than one of the best ever in Anze Kopitar?

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Rest of our writer’s rankings

Jack Weber                        

1. Quinton Byfield
2. Alex Turcotte
3. Arthur Kaliyev
4. Rasmus Kupari
5. Samuel Fagemo
6. Tyler Madden
7. Brock Faber
8. Austin Strand
9. Akil Thomas
10. Helge Grans

Scott Kinville

1. Quinton Byfield
2. Rasmus Kupari
3. Alex Turcotte
4. Arthur Kaliyev
5. Samuel Fagemo
6. Austin Strand
7. Tyler Madden
8. Jordan Spence
9. Brock Faber
10. Akil Thomas

Ryan Sikes

1. Quinton Byfield
2. Alex Turcotte
3. Arthur Kaliyev
4. Samuel Fagemo
5. Helge Grans
6. Rasmus Kupari
7. Akil Thomas
8. Brock Faber
9. Aidan Dudas
10. Tyler Madden