The season hasn’t played out as fans had hoped. After a promising start, they currently sit at an 18-23-6 record and have fallen into seventh place in the West Division behind the St. Louis Blues, the Phoenix Coyotes, and the San Jose Sharks.
The playoff prospects aren’t looking good for this young team, and it’s fair to say that with the trade of Jeff Carter, management may know that as well.
But what can you expect? The team is still in a rebuild. If the fans are to take away anything from this season, it’s that the young guys, and the few older veterans, are capable of winning. They need some more pieces.
Despite the record, excitement is still up in the air- especially after last night’s debut of, dare we say, “Future All-Star Quinton Byfield!”
The wait is over!
Quinton Byfield has been the talk of the organization since he was drafted in October 2020. Byfield made NHL history when the Los Angeles Kings selected him with the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. The center from Newmarket, Ontario, became the highest-selected Black player in the history of the NHL.
His time in the minors has been quite impressive as well. He put up 82 points in 45 games for the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves last year. His pace of 1.822 points per game was one of the best U18 seasons in the OHL. He is the real deal.
The hope is that his time in the minors can translate to the big leagues.
After tallying eight goals in thirty games, the call was made to bring him up to help the Kings face the Anaheim Ducks. Byfield’s play on the second line last night was exceptional – Especially for an 18-year-old.
His knowledge of the game and his stickhandling fit perfectly between Adrian Kempe and Trevor Moore, two potential long-lasting teammates. He created opportunities to help the Kings stay in the game, something that’s been missing since the beginning of the season.
“It’s definitely a big exciting day. I knew I had a lot of support behind me and just wanted to go into the game with confidence,” Byfield said to the press after the game.
He even drew praise from Coach Todd McLellan:
“I thought he contributed to a lot of offensive chances. He was good in the circle; he had a pretty good idea and understanding of the structure and how we wanted to play. Overall, definitely a passing grade for him; he was probably one of our better players.”
Obviously, time and patience are needed for the 18-year-olds development, but he’s certainly in the right hands with the Kings organization.
Quinton Byfield will be just fine.
Featured Image: Leonard Ortiz/Orange County Register