Los Angeles moved up from No. 4 to No. 2 at the draft lottery, and unless the New York Rangers surprise everyone to pass up on left-winger Alexis Lafreniere, the Kings will have some intriguing options.
The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman made a case for why Los Angeles should pick center Quinton Byfield. The 6’4, 215-pound Byfield dominated the OHL before the league shut down due to the pandemic. He put up 82 points (32 goals, 50 assists) in 45 games for the Sudbury Wolves as a 17-year-old.
TSN’s Craig Button is exceptionally high on Byfield, comparing him to Colorado Avalanche star Nathan Mackinnon:
“I think MacKinnon is the best player on the planet right now. When I talk about Byfield, he just turned 18. Over the next two, three years, he’ll be on along this path, just trying to be better. And he wants to be better. He’s determined to be better.”
As Dillman points out, the Kings’ pipeline of centers is deep. The organization already has Gabe Vilardi —who was impressive with seven points in 10 games before the NHL shutdown— Alex Turcotte and Rasmus Kaspari down the middle. Los Angeles acquired Tyler Madden from the Vancouver Canucks in the Tyler Toffoli trade, so general manager Rob Blake has plenty of long-term solutions at the most critical position.
Still, some scouts believe Byfield is too good to pass up. He’s big, fast, skilled, and has the character you’re looking for in a franchise player. Byfield’s OHL stats are eye-popping, matching the junior numbers of players like John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, and Mitch Marner.
Do you think the Kings should take Byfield at No. 2? Or is there another prospect who stands out to you?