Byfield is back on the ice again for the LA Kings after bouts of bad luck
January 20, 2022
The LA Kings hockey team, 19-13-5 (third place in the Pacific Division), is surging right now, seemingly rising like a Phoenix from the ashes, as they are riding on a three-game win-streak with two of those wins against elite teams - the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins - at their newly-named home, Crypto.com Arena.
But the other good news is that Canadian center Quinton Byfield, 19 and of Jamaican descent, the Kings second overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, is now back on the ice and trying to get up to speed with the Ontario Reign after an unfortunate left ankle fracture in a preseason game put him on the shelf.
The Kings and their fans have been frothing at the bit to see this 6'4", 214 pound stud in action. Before the injury occurred, Byfield, signed to a three-year, entry-level contract, was potentially going to be slated to be the Kings fourth line center.
Byfield made his NHL debut in a loss to the Anaheim Ducks on April 28, 2021 and would go on to play in only six games in the 2020-21 season. Before the NHL, he won a Gold Medal with Canada at the 2020 World Junior Championships held in the Czech Republic.
When he played for two seasons (2018-20) for the Sudbury Wolves in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada he was awarded OHL Rookie of the Year and in the second season would light up the ice with 32 goals and 50 assists in 45 games.
Byfield was also eager to get back on the ice. During his rehab, he watched each game from the pressbox, following along and learning the systems and focusing on his mental game.
"Just watching those games made you miss the game quite a bit," Byfield said. "It's different, watching from up high, the game looks so much slower, and a lot easier. I know it's a fast-paced game and there's things that you see from above that you just don't see on the ice. Little plays you can make, if you cut back up, you can spot a high guy differently, things like that. Watching other teams, breaking down their systems, seeing when you play them, what you can do against them."
One important upside was that Byfield had veteran Drew Doughty to learn from while they were both rehabbing their injuries. Doughty game him direction and guidance, and talked about how he plays the game.
After almost 10 weeks on the injured list, Byfield returned on December 10 and appeared in four games with the Reign before he was recalled by the Kings 10 days later. The next day, bad luck would strike again and he was placed on the non-roster/COVID-19 list. So he used this time off to continue the healing process.
But now, he's back on the ice again with the Reign and looking forward to the moment when he is again recalled to join the Kings roster.
"It's definitely been a little bit of a tough season for me," Byfield said. "I was starting to finally get back in the swing of things and then I got COVID. I'm just happy to be back on the ice and I hope there's no more setbacks this year."
I know that the Kings and their fans definitely share this same hope.