1. Quinton Byfield – 19 y/o – F – 2020 Round 1 #2 overall
Previous ranking: 1
Quinton Byfield isn’t just the best prospect in the LA Kings pipeline. He’s the best prospect in the National Hockey League.
Whether being the first man in on the forecheck, using his long reach to annoy defenders, quarterbacking a power play, utilizing his on-ice awareness always to find the open man, or establishing his big frame to protect the puck, Byfield does it all.
It’s pretty wild to think that Quinton Byfield is only 19 years old. With all that has happened in the last 12 months since Byfield was drafted, expectations are still sky-high. After getting a look for six games during last season, with a good showing in training camp, Byfield was all but expected to at least start with the LA Kings this year
Corey Pronman The Athletic
“I think when you take a centerman second overall, you’re hoping for a first-line center. That is what you’re kind of hoping for. Is (Byfield) going to be like a true megastar in the National Hockey League? I probably would stop short of saying that. He hasn’t shown that in the last 12 to 18 months. But I think when you’re 6’4″, you can skate well, you compete, he’s got good hands, good hockey sense, and he can score goals; I think you’re definitely looking at a guy who can project as a number one center in the National Hockey League.”
While missing most of Development Camp due to injury and a somewhat underwhelming Rookie Faceoff, Byfield came into Kings’ training camp with still something to prove. And he would get better and better until an unfortunate injury occurred on October 5th against the Coyotes.
It sucked seeing Byfield go down that fateful Tuesday night at Staples Center. Throughout the game until the injury, he had been playing his best hockey in a Kings sweater. He was making play after play. With a diagnosis of a left ankle fracture, you get the sense the Kings may have dodged a bullet. Considering how the play looked, there was a thought it might have been something more serious.
For now, it’ll merely be a speed bump for the star prospect. And we’ll have to wait a bit longer for Byfield’s anticipated 2021-22 season debut. But I have no doubt when he is healthy and ready to go, he is going to be an absolute stud in the NHL.