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Regal Rundown: Kings and the Calder conversation

Plus helmet sponsors, Dubois rumors and more in today’s news and notes.

Gabriel Vilardi #13 of the Los Angeles Kings gets ready for the play during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at STAPLES Center on January 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images

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.

Kings Things

  • 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]

Hockey Things

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