Los Angeles Kings forward Quinton Byfield was drafted second overall in the 2020 NHL Draft. The organization drafted him because of his talents and size combined with his skill set to bring this franchise to the promise land with another Stanley Cup. After some injuries, Byfield finally made his NHL debut on April 28, 2021 in a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. It was then when the organization felt they made the right decision.
Kings Byfield Struggles More Than Most High Picks
This season, Byfield has one goal in 5 games. In his career, he has mine goals and 25 assists for 35 points in 105 games. He is also a +8, has 54 penalty minutes, and an average of 13:27 of ice time. The offensive production is average, even for a third-line forward. Being drafted that high the production should be much higher than it currently is.
In the 2020 NHL Draft, he was picked behind first round pick Alexis Lafrenniere, who was picked by the New York Rangers. Lafrenniere has also struggled for a first overall pick, posting 49 goals and 44 assists for 93 points in 221 games. However, his point total is is almost triple what Byfield has done.
Byfield was drafted ahead of Tim Stutzle (183 points in 215 games, Lucas Raymond (107 points in 162 games), Jake Sanderson (38 points in 82 games), Anton Lundell (77 points in 143 games), and Dawson Mercer (98 points in 168 games). All of those players have had much more success offensively. except for Sanderson, who has similar points but in fewer games.
This was just Byfield’s draft class. Second overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, Matty Beniers, was drafted by the Seattle Kraken. He had 57 points in his first full NHL season.
Byfield has had plenty of time to adapt, and make changes, to the NHL style of play. He started off in the bottom six when recalled by the Kings to get adjusted to the systems they play. Since his defense has improved, the Kings placed him on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe, to which he still has not produced. His offense is still non-existent and time may be running out for him in Los Angeles.
Is it time for Quinton Byfield to be traded? He has been placed on different lines, has been sent to the American Hockey League affiliate, the Ontario reign, with minor success. Byfield has the talent, size, and strength to be a success in the NHL but it is not happening with the Los Angeles Kings.
Could a swap with the Rangers for Lafrenniere be possible as a way for a restart for both players? It is possible. The Kings have worked with, and been patient, with Byfield. His progression is not there and it is more of a regression. He may need to be traded to find his full potential with another organization. The time has come to find a trade partner for Byfield.
(photo: lakingsinsider.com; Zach Dooley) (photo: lakingsinsider.com; Jared Shafran)