Could the Los Angeles Kings have 2021’s rookie of the year?
Chris Peters at ESPN+ did a preseason ranking of 43 potential 2021 NHL rookies and where they might fit in the Calder Cup conversation at the end of the season. He created five tiers, with the first tier consisting of potential Calder Finalists. The Kings make a few appearances on this list, but don’t get your hopes up.
The earliest appearance is in Tier 4: Contributors and Role Players — players who aren’t necessarily a lock at the NHL level, but will have a chance to shine. Gabriel Vilardi is noted here, and Tobias Bjornfot is an honorable mention.
Gabriel Vilardi, C/W, Los Angeles Kings
Health has always been a factor for Vilardi, but what he showed in 10 NHL games last season is that when he’s healthy, he has the hockey sense and skill to contribute at the top level. He had seven points in his brief stint with the Kings after returning from an injury that held him to four games in 2018-19.
Of course, the would-be rookie Quinton Byfield makes the list in Tier 5: Taxi Squad and Call Ups. Byfield didn’t make the Kings’ opening night roster, but that doesn’t count him out for season. Still, it seems more likely his real rookie season will be in 2022 and he’ll move up at least a few tiers by then.
Quinton Byfield, C, Los Angeles Kings
Fear not, Kings fans. Byfield not being on the opening night roster is not a bad sign. He was one of the youngest players in the 2020 draft, and since AHL reps are available to him right now, that’s a development opportunity worth exploring further before giving him a shot at the big leagues.
Alex Turcotte was also an honorable mention in Tier 5.
Read more about it linked below.
- NHL rookie tiers: Stacking 43 first-years, from Calder Trophy favorites to depth contributors [ESPN+]
- NHL Rumors: John Tortorella’s future, Kings and Flames in pursuit of Dubois, and Keith Yandle being pushed out [The Daily Goalhorn]
- Kings Will Benefit From Doughty & Maatta Pairing [The Hockey Writers]
- LA Kings Name Wanton Davis as Executive Producer, Live Events [NHL]
The LA Kings are partnering with CalHOPE, a California-based mental health & wellness initiative, as their first-ever official helmet partner. CalHOPE is a crisis support resource for communities impacted by Covid-19.— LA Kings (@LAKings) January 14, 2021
Visit https://t.co/ukVVlUMakI or call (833) 317-HOPE (4673) pic.twitter.com/OdAoPO0VNo
- NWHL releases 2020-21 schedule [The Ice Garden]
- LOOK: Here’s why the Ottawa Senators have the weirdest team photos in the NHL [CBS Sports]
- Lightning unveil Stanley Cup banner, don’t raise it to rafters [NHL]
- Analysis: The NHL’s cruel new math [Ottawa Citizen]
- Sammy Blais suspended two games for hit to the head of Devon Toews [St. Louis Game Time]
Scores & Recaps
- New York Islanders 4, New York Rangers 0
- Washington Capitals 6, Buffalo Sabres 4
- Boston Bruins 3 New Jersey Devils 2 (OT)
- Carolina Hurricanes 3, Detroit Red Wings 0
- Calgary Flames 3, Winnipeg Jets 4 (OT)
- Columbus Blue Jackets 1, Nashville Predators 3
- Vancouver Canucks 2, Edmonton Oilers 5
- San Jose Sharks 4, Arizona Coyotes 3 (SO)
- Anaheim Ducks 2, Vegas Golden Knights 5
- Minnesota Wild 4, Los Angeles Kings 3 (OT)
Click on a team name to find a recap on their SB Nation site!
On the Schedule
- Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers, 4 PST/7 EST on NHLN, SN, TVAS, NBCSP, ATTSN-PT
- Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning, 4 PST/7 EST on ESPN+, SUN, NBCSCH
- Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators, 4 PST/7 EST on TSN5, RDS, TSN4
- Washington Capitals at Buffalo Sabres, 4 PST/7 EST on MSG-B, NBCSWA
- St. Louis Blues at Colorado Avalanche, 6 PST/9 EST on ESPN+, ALT, FS-MW