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Regal Rundown: Let the Byfield v. Stützle debate begin

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The Kings have a few months to decide which prospect to add to their already full cupboard.

National Hockey league Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly announces the Los Angeles Kings draft position during Phase 1 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery on June 26, 2020 at the NHL Network’s studio in Secaucus, New Jersey. Photo by Bruce Bennett/NHLI via Getty Images

The 2020 NHL Draft lottery was a coup for the Kings, who jumped two spots in the draft order and will have their pick of any prospect not named Alexis Lafrenière. It was also quite the draw for the average NHL fan and the league itself — though opinions differ — as the selection of a placeholder team for the no. 1 pick generated significant drama, something the league should enjoy during this extended hiatus.

Personally, knowing that a placeholder team would vault into top three from the moment Bob Daly took out his box of cards lent a greater air of excitement to the proceedings, even if said placeholder ended up denying the Kings of the no. 1 pick. Although I was originally opposed to the idea of phase 2, this suggestion from Down Goes Brown for what to do with the ping-pong balls in the second lottery has me reconsidering:

Why pull out one ball for the winning team? Let’s pull out seven balls to eliminate the losers. Imagine watching Gary Bettman draw teams one at a time to scratch them off the list, knowing your team hadn’t been picked yet. You’d lose your mind. It would be amazing TV.

While fans of the 16 teams still in the no. 1 pick sweepstakes decide whether they’d rather win one playoff round or enter the Lafrenière lottery (on that note, I apologize for conflating the round-robin series and the best-of-five last week; they are indeed two separate tournaments), the Kings have their own choice to make. Currently, the top two contenders for the second overall pick (though Rob Blake indicated the team is strongly considering four players at the moment) are Quinton Byfield and Tim Stützle, both centers, like every other Kings prospect. From this week’s 31 Thoughts:

L.A.’s last three first-rounders were centres: Alex Turcotte (2019), Rasmus Kupari (2018) and Gabe Vilardi (2017).... Does this matter to the Kings? “No,” Blake answered. “You mention those three, we’ll take four centres like that.”

We’ll spend some time before the draft digging deeper into the strengths and weaknesses of Byfield and Stützle, as well as whichever two other prospects have drawn Blake’s eye. For now, if the draft were today, who would you want to select?

Poll

Who should the Kings choose with the no. 2 pick?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Quinton Byfield
    (347 votes)
  • 27%
    Tim Stützle
    (142 votes)
  • 4%
    Someone else
    (21 votes)
510 votes total Vote Now

On to the links...