Could Quinton Byfield make NHL debut with Kings soon?

www.latimes.com
5 min read
standard
With the Kings working through player absences, there's a chance that Quinton Byfield's NHL debut could be coming sooner than expected.
When the Kings selected Quinton Byfield with the second overall pick in the NHL draft in October, few planned to see him in their opening night lineup.

When the 18-year-old center arrived in Los Angeles for the first time Wednesday, flying in via private charter directly from the World Junior Championship in Edmonton, Canada, to start a required quarantine process, it wasn't clear whether he'd even be able to begin practicing before the Kings' season opener Thursday night.

But Monday, he and two prospects who had participated in the world junior championship, defenseman Tobias Bjornfot and winger Arthur Kaliyev, joined the Kings for the first time this preseason. And with the team working through a wave of sudden player absences in the final week of training camp, there's a chance Byfield's NHL debut could be coming sooner than expected.

Byfield centered the team's fourth line in practice, compensating for one of the vacancies created by the announcement Saturday that a group of Kings players are currently "unfit to participate" for undisclosed — but possibly coronavirus-related — reasons.

Advertisement

The four "unfit" NHL players — center Gabriel Vilardi, defensemen Sean Walker and Kurtis MacDermid, and goalies Cal Petersen and Matthew Villalta — were still missing during practice Monday. Winger Martin Frk also was unable to participate after suffering a lower-body injury in an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday.

With the regular season three days away — and opening night 23-man rosters and four-to-six player taxi squads due to the league by Tuesday night — the team's lineup is "in flux right now," coach Todd McLellan said.

He added, "Once we determine who's available to us — and that may not even happen until Thursday — then we'll pick the lineup for Day 1."

Advertisement

Count Byfield among those seemingly in the mix if there…
Jack Harris
Read full article