2020 NHL Draft: Evaluating Byfield, Stüetzle, and Raymond


For the first time in twelve years, the Kings possess the second overall pick of the NHL draft. Drew Doughty was the pick Los Angeles made at that time, which was the beginning of turning the franchise around into a champion.

The 2008 Draft had an embarrassment of riches of defensemen. Independent scouting services listed four options after Steven Stamkos, and Dean Lombardi had to choose between Doughty, Zach Bogosian, Alex Pietrangelo, and Luke Schenn. They all had varying degrees of success in the NHL, but it’s safe to say with the two Cups, No. 8 was the right call.

Instead of trying to pick the right blueliner, Kings General Manager Rob Blake must now successfully identify and draft the best player available (all of which are arguably forwards) after expected first overall pick Alexis Lafreniere.

This article is different from most of our recent draft preview articles. Here, we dig deeper into analyzing three potential forward who are expected to be selected early on draft day. To set your expectations, there will not be a verdict at the end of the article. What it will do is give you a sneak peek at the animated conversations Blake and Mark Yannetti may have with their scouting staff, as they work toward a decision.

The three players we are looking at are Quinton Byfield, Tim Stüetzle, and Lucas Raymond.

Size

We’re leading with this as it requires the least amount of context. All sizes are from eliteprospects.com.

Byfield – 6’4, 214 lbs.
Stüetzle – 6’0, 187 lbs.
Raymond – 5’10, 165 lbs.

It’s pretty clear, even with a small margin of error, that Byfield is the biggest and Raymond is the smallest. It’s possible Raymond and Stüetzle could switch places as they grow up and mature, but neither are likely to reach Byfield’s frame.

Position

Byfield – Center
Stüetzle – Center / Left Wing
Raymond – Left / Right Wing

It’s easier to transition from center to wing than to go from wing to center. It is still an adjustment, however, and not guaranteed. That said, if Byfield could make the adjustment, other options would open on the development chart if need be. Stüetzle, playing center or wing in different situations, would have the most flexibility.

Role

Byfield – First line center in OHL. Fourth line forward for Canada’s WJC.
Stüetzle – Top six forward in DEL. Top six forward for Germany’s WJC.
Raymond – Bottom six forward in SEL. Top six forward in Sweden’s WJC.

Byfield became a small fish in a big pond when the WJC came about. Canada is always a deep team, so this is more of a numbers game. Lafreniere was also on fourth line duty during his first WJC appearance, so don’t take it as a life sentence.

Stüetzle saw little change in expectations from his regular team to the national team. While Germany is a growing talent pool, it’s still in its infancy of impact in hockey. The sample size just isn’t there, though he continued to produce to make the most of his opportunities.

Raymond saw significant role change from his home team to nationals. Sweden always ices a competitive team, yet Frolunda are back-to-back champions in the CHL and were the defending SEL champions.

All players will see the expectations put upon them increase as they age. Stüetzle will see the least amount of change (as long as he’s in the DEL). Once he comes to North America, he will see the biggest amount of change if he’s made into a role-player while he gets his feet wet. Both Byfield and Raymond have been relegated to fourth-line duty in different capacities (though for Byfield it was for a short tournament). Overall, Raymond would have the easiest transition from a development perspective.

Production

If you are picking a forward second overall, you rightfully expect for him, at some point in his career, to be a productive player. This is where additional context starts getting crucial though.

Instead of rattling off different numbers for three players who played in completely different leagues, we’re going to compare their production to another player in the same league during their draft year. Keep in mind this is strictly production – not a stylistic comparison.

Byfield (1.82 Points-per-game) – Taylor Hall (1.86 Points-per-game)
Stüetzle (0.83 Points-per-game) – Marcel Goc (0.70 Points-per-game)
Raymond (0.30 Points-per-game) – Adrian Kempe (0.24 Points-per-game)

Byfield’s production compared to Hall is most apt compared to other candidates, mainly due to the goal and assist ratio. Byfield’s 32 goals accounted for 39% of his points. Hall’s 30 goals accounted for 38% of his points. A player like John Tavares had a nearly identical scoring rate (1.85 points-per-game), but his goals accounted for 56% of his points. So, we feel the Hall point distribution is more appropriate.

The biggest disparity is in their WJC performances. Byfield’s one assist in seven outings is far eclipsed by Hall’s 12 points (6 G, 6 A) in six meetings.

This manner of comparison may seem unfair to Stüetzle, because as we said, a lot of players don’t play in Germany in their draft year. Moreover, Germany’s league has grown a lot since 2001 (when Goc was drafted). Stüetzle’s WJC performance is also much more productive, with five assists in five games as opposed to Goc’s lone helper in five contests in D-1 competition.

There are a couple players with arguably closer point production to Raymond than Kempe. William Nylander and Mika Zibanejad scored at rates of .32 and .35 points-per-game respectively. Similar to Byfield, however, the goals-to-points ratio is a lot closer. 40% of Raymond’s points came from goals, while Kempe had 45% of his goals attribute to his points. The biggest difference is Kempe did not play in the WJC in his draft year (only the U-18), so there’s not a comparison.

Play Over Peers

To continue with the topic of production, we also need to look at how their production ranks relative to the team and league.

Byfield – first on team/sixth in league
Stüetzle – sixth on team/21st in league
Raymond – 14th on team/177th in league

We discussed earlier the roles all three have been given, and their production relative to their teammates confirms they have been delivering on the expectations set for them.

Byfield’s numbers look dominant. Keep in mind the oldest player in the OHL is 21 years old if they are playing in their overage season. This is a junior league, and not a professional league. So, you can argue he doesn’t have the same obstacles the other two face.

Stüetzle’s league continues to be the wildcard. He is playing against grown men, yet very few NHL players have been developed in the DEL. Only seven German players played in the NHL last year.

Raymond suffers the most from this ranking, as 177th in the SEL is not very flattering. This ranking in the NHL would equate to 35 points last year. Considering the strength of competition in Sweden, it makes for an interesting discussion. For context, Sweden is the largest European influence in the NHL, with 100 Swedes playing in the 2019-20 season. Tre Kronor develops professional talent year after year, so a player spending the majority of his 17 year-old life is expected to struggle.

Aggregate Rankings

While the Kings scouting staff will create their own internal rankings, we’ll utilize independent scouting services to further the evaluation here. Central Scouting was omitted for the sake of affecting the average – they rank Europeans separately.

BOB MCKENZIE
Byfield – 3rd
Stüetzle – 2nd
Raymond – 6th

CRAIG BUTTON
Byfield – 3rd
Stüetzle – 2nd
Raymond – 9th

DRAFT ANALYST
Byfield – 2nd
Stüetzle – 3rd
Raymond – 9th

FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS
Byfield – 2nd
Stüetzle – 3rd
Raymond – 4th

HOCKEY PROSPECT
Byfield – 3rd
Stüetzle – 2nd
Raymond – 8th

ISS HOCKEY
Byfield – 4th
Stüetzle – 2nd
Raymond – 5th

LAST WORD ON HOCKEY
Byfield – 2nd
Stüetzle – 3rd
Raymond – 5th

MCKEENS
Byfield – 3rd
Stüetzle – 2nd
Raymond – 4th

AVERAGE OF ABOVE
Byfield – 2.75
Stüetzle – 2.375
Raymond – 6.25

There is not a ranking which has Raymond higher than either. Byfield and Stüetzle mostly exchange second and third, with a slight edge going to Stüetzle.

Final Comments

Overall, even among the scouting services, it’s very close between Byfield and Stüetzle. And you can bet similar arguments are occurring within the LA scouting staff. As mentioned earlier, without suggesting any conclusion here, below is a brief summary of what the Kings are facing while trying to come to a decision:

With Byfield, they’d get a rare specimen of size, speed and skill, who is also just a month away from being 2021 NHL Draft eligible – making him among the youngest players. His numbers and responsibility dipped during some bigger stage events, such as the WJC. He is also the only one of the three not to play against adults. But, again, we’re looking at Taylor Hall productions in an Anze Kopitar-sized body.

For Stüetzle, his skating and skill get commended as among the best. He played against adults the entire season, held his own as a top-six talent, and continued to produce regardless of the level of competition. He would have to adjust to North American ice, yet he was arguably the most consistent as far as meeting expectations and dealing with a meteoric rise in draft rankings. However, the DEL is the least proven provider of talent between the three leagues. That said, he produced in the league at a rate not like any other NHL player ever did by the time they were drafted.

With Raymond, there is a combination of skill, tenacity, and two-way play. Sweden is the most reliable European nation of providing talent, and the Swedish forward saw the worst amount of ice time yet still produced in arguably the most difficult environment out of the three. The biggest obstacle he faced as a 17 year-old was opportunity, which will only grow as he matures. He had clutch performances reminiscent of Justin Williams, where he scored a hat trick and potted the game-winning goal in overtime to secure the U18 gold medal.

While the league envies the opportunity Los Angeles has, most are certainly not envious of them having to make the decision. It’s not easy, and this is the last top pick the Kings are expected to make for many seasons to come.

NOTE: David Hofreiter was the lead contributor in the gathering of information used in this article. You can find him on Twitter @Davidenkness to talk more hockey.

Recent Articles

This Date in LA Kings History: October 28

On October 28, 1998, goaltenders Stephane Fiset and Manny Legace shared a shutout in the @LAKings' 4-0 win against the New Jersey Devils. Fiset made 23 saves before being pulled in the second period due to an injury, and Legace made 17 saves in relief.#LAKings #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/sy4SOLKYGg
— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) October 28, 2020

Happy birthday to […]

This Date in LA Kings History: October 27

Happy birthday to former @LAKings forward Brian MacLellan, who was born on October 27, 1958.#LAKings #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/jc2RG76Avt
— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) October 27, 2020

On October 27, 2011, Jonathan Quick set an @LAKings’ record by not allowing a goal for 202 minutes and 11 seconds. Quick's shutout streak ended in the #LAKings' 5-3 win against the Dallas […]

Kings Of The Podcast: Ep. Q23 with Aidan Dudas and Jacob Ingham

Joining us all the way from Germany for back-to-back guest spots on Kings of the Podcast are prospects Aidan Dudas and Jacob Ingham.
Among the topics discussed:
– Playing for Eisbären Berlin
– Food, fashion, and fun going on in Germany
– NHL Draft
– Goaltending Coach Matt Millar
– World Junior Championship
– Akil Thomas, Sean Durzi, and Blake Lizotte
– […]

Major News Items

Anatomy of a Draft Pick – How the Kings Decided on Byfield

It seems that nearly every year there is a debate among two players either at or near the top of the NHL Draft board. This year was no exception, with Quinton Byfield vs. Tim Stuetzle being a common theme among … [Read More...]

More Prospect News

Comments

  1. This was an interesting read. I watched quite a bit of Byfield and none of the other two other than highlights

  2. George Pobedinsky says

    Great article again from the Mayor. If I wanna know anything about the Kings, I read and listen to John Hoven. If I have a question, he will actually respond.

    • John Hoven says

      Appreciate the support.

      Small clarification – this was prepared by David Hofreiter, one of our MM writers.

  3. Alistair Belford says

    Great stuff, regardless who we pick they’ll be compared constantly with the guy we didn’t. I’ve no problem with either as long as he turns out as hoped

  4. Any way LA really goes for it and attempts to get #1 as well?

    Would a package of Turcotte, Bjornfot, all 3 2nd rounders from this year & next year’s 1st(lotto protected) do it potentially? 6 assets for 1.

    A rebuild starting with Lafreniere & Byfield would be franchise altering.

  5. Dale Roys says

    When was the last time the king’s had a true left winger not named lucic