In His Second Try, Quinton Byfield is Primed for a Breakout World Junior Effort
Quinton ByfieldSteven Ellis/The Hockey NewsIf your solely publicity to prospects is watching the World Junior Championship, you most likely assume Quinton Byfield is a fairly awful participant.One help in seven video games final yr. Only a few video games the place he was noticeable. Just a few premature penalties. When all was mentioned and accomplished, Byfield had one of many quietest tournaments amongst NHL draft prospects regardless of an electrifying coaching camp in Oakville.Scouts, although, have been unfazed. You do not decide a prospect’s price on a two-week event, particularly when the participant in query was the youngest ahead on the staff. Byfield, a pure middle, shifted to the wing and by no means discovered his groove in unfamiliar shutdown territory. However when he was again dwelling in Sudbury, he was almost unstoppable.By means of 45 video games as an OHL sophomore, Byfield had 32 targets and 82 factors for a Sudbury staff that struggled to provide with out him. Within the seven video games by which Byfield did not register a degree, the Wolves went 1-5-1. Within the seven video games that Byfield missed throughout the World Junior Championship, the Wolves went 1-6-0.So it is protected to say that, a yr later, Byfield needs to be an integral a part of Canada’s try at successful consecutive gold medals.Byfield, chosen second total by the Los Angeles Kings in October, is certainly one of a handful of members on the Canadian roster that probably would have seen NHL responsibility by now in a standard yr. Chicago’s Kirby Dach, Anaheim’s Jamie Drysdale, Colorado’s Bowen Byram and Buffalo’s Dylan Cozens, to call a number of, all appeared like contenders to make the NHL straight away (in Dach’s case, as a sophomore). With the NHL on pause, this may as an alternative be the primary actual recreation motion any of them have had, so the choice camp in Purple Deer has been important to getting them on top of things.As for the camp itself this yr, Byfield would not really feel any totally different regardless of having a go-around final winter.”I would not say there may be much less stress,” Byfield mentioned. “I feel there’s at all times stress. That is what you need as a hockey participant. You must use that to your benefit. “Nothing’s actually given to you, you need to work for it.”Not like Kirby Dach, who would return to the Chicago Blackhawks if requested to affix coaching camp previous to the top of the event, Byfield is in it for the long term. Byfield mentioned he had chats with Kings’ GM Rob Blake about staying in camp no matter what occurs with the NHL and problem for a second gold medal. Whether or not meaning the Kings view him as having a key position with the NHL membership as soon as the season begins is but to be seen, however being on a squad with an opportunity to win a event after sitting out near a yr of motion appears to be the very best plan of action.“Immediately he was a person on the market,” head coach Andre Tourigny mentioned following Byfield’s delayed begin to camp whereas awaiting a COVID-19 end result. “I actually appreciated his depth, I appreciated the way in which he labored. When you’ve three days of instructing and also you miss two of them, you’re gentle on the construction.“Am I anxious about that? Under no circumstances. Give him a number of days. He’ll catch up. It’s not an issue for Q. I like the way in which he skates. I like the way in which he handles the puck, his presence, his one-on-one, the way in which he can shut rapidly defensively on his man. You may see an enormous enchancment.”Confidence has by no means been a difficulty for Byfield – from minor hockey to junior, his groups have relied on his management to information them by any problem. And as a returning participant, Byfield is the kind of participant the Canadians will certainly depend on.”Final yr was a superb expertise,” Byfield mentioned. “Hopefully, me, together with a few the opposite guys, can carry the veteran presence and go it on to the youthful guys.”After all, that may require the Canadians to provide Byfield a much bigger shot within the lineup apart from as a bottom-line ahead like he was a yr in the past. Whereas remaining humble, it is nonetheless clear that being somebody the staff can depend on is necessary to Byfield.”I am not saying I am anticipating a much bigger position, you need to earn it right here,” Byfield mentioned. “Simply attempting to get again on the ice and earn that position. I undoubtedly would desire a greater position however you are taking any position that you just’re given and simply go along with that and work your approach up.”One of many greatest knocks on Byfield’s recreation is that regardless of his large body of 6-foot-Four and 221 kilos, he would not use his dimension sufficient to his benefit, permitting smaller gamers to push him round at instances. Byfield mentioned he is grown added some mass throughout the low season and his total energy is one thing he is labored on over the previous few months.”I feel I obtained fairly a bit stronger, gained some weight (10 kilos),” Byfield mentioned. “I am attempting to be heavier on pucks and use my dimension to my benefit.”With so many prospects on the skin wanting in with nowhere to go, Byfield has a possibility to proceed to boost his inventory earlier than seeking to make the bounce to the NHL full-time. If there is not any contact within the OHL this season, there’s nothing left for him to do in Sudbury and the main focus will swap to his seek for a full-time position within the NHL. However for now, his thoughts is concentrated on successful in Alberta, and bringing gold again to his nation for the second time in a row. However this time, Byfield needs to be a much bigger contributor, and all indicators level in the direction of the calm, motivated star changing into simply that.