Quinton Byfield was a man against boys when he played in the OHL for the Sudbury Wolves. Night after night, he would prove he was the better player on the ice that evening. He was dominant, too dominant, in a league that showcased skill and promise.
Byfield, a 6-foot-4 and 216-pound center, had nothing left to prove and was off to the NHL Entry Draft. The LA Kings then chose him with the second overall pick in the 2020 draft.
Since his 2020-21 pro debut with the AHL Ontario Reign, his progression has had ups and downs. After fracturing his ankle in the preseason, he has stormed back to appear in more games with the Kings than in the past.
Although his offense has struggled a bit, can he be to blame? Or is it that he made the show too soon? Or is he a bust? He is mature beyond his years and has made adjustments to improve his overall game, but the offense still needs some work.
The offensive issues do not help when he has spent most of his time skating on the third line with longtime King Dustin Brown, who is showing his age and not producing like days of old. To Byfield’s credit, he is doing about as good as he can, considering he is in the bottom six with little ice time.
Byfield has split this season with the Kings and the Reign. In 22 NHL games, he has two goals and two assists for four points to go along with four goals and two assists for six points in 11 games for the Reign.
Some fans have questioned Byfield because of his lack of offensive production. Agreed, he has not been lighting the lamp as often, but let us take some things into effect. He is on the third line with very few minutes played, he is in his first full NHL season, he is a rookie, and he is only 19 years old.
Yes, maybe he has not worked out to this point in his career. However, he is still very young, very raw, and still full of potential. He is on the right track, and we should give him adequate time to showcase his skill. We, as fans, need to give him space to play his game, and the results will come over time.
Again, it’s his first NHL season, and he is 19 years old. There is plenty of time to be an elite center for the Kings and the NHL.