Young center Quinton Byfield did not have the hoped-for start to his career with the Los Angeles Kings, having spent half his first campaign in the infirmary.
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The second overall pick in the 2020 draft was attacking heading into his rookie season last October. A broken left ankle, however, turned his plans upside down, and he had to wait until January 20 to play his first match of the season.
The giant-sized center didn't look quite ready to excel in the best hockey league in the world when he returned to action. He had 10 points in 40 games, and was sidelined for most of the first round of the playoffs.
"I'm not losing hope, though," Byfield told the National Hockey League website. I know that I am a good player and that I will reach my potential. I just need patience and another chance.”
He said he learned a lot during his time in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Ontario Reign during the 2020-2021 season, where he amassed 20 points in 32 games.
“Because of the pandemic, I was able to play in the AHL and I learned a lot from these guys, he chained. Several older veterans spent a lot of time there, so they kind of showed me how things worked.”
Byfield will have a lot to do to carve out a regular position with the Kings next year, since this organization already has Anze Kopitar, Phillip Danault, Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Turcotte and Blake Lizotte in the center, to name a few.
“I still have a lot to prove,” he concluded. I think I will be much better next season.”