After only seeing the ice for about six minutes during Development Camp last month, Kings prospect Quinton Byfield returned to the ice for Day 1 of 2021 Rookie Camp and proclaimed himself completely ready to go for this season. Below are key highlights from when he met with the media after about an hour of practice:
Byfield on the foot injury that kept him off the ice at Dev Camp
I did some rehab with the Kings here; they take good care of us here. I’m 100% ready to go. … [The injury] happened during the summertime. I came out and tried to test it, to see if I could do Dev Cam, but I think it was just best if I held off for a little bit more to get back to 100% for Rookie Camp and main Training Camp.
On what’s been shared with him about the overall tournament
As a whole, they asked the returning players to take on more of a leadership role and — you know it’s weird for me to say — but, show the younger guys more about pro hockey and what it takes to be at this level. I’m excited for that challenge and to go out there and play hockey again. I’m excited for everything here.
On any personal expectations he has for the tournament, both personally and for the team
I think we have a lot of returning players and a lot of guys who have played pro hockey, along with a lot of young guys too — high picks, great players with great talent. Even the camp invitees showed great promise out there when I was watching [last month]. So I’m excited to get on the ice with them. I think we have a really good team to go out there [to Arizona] and can probably come home with a couple wins. That’s the main goal here.
On what he took away from his six NHL games last season and if he feels there are specific areas he still needs to improve before becoming a full-time player with the Kings
I think there’s a lot of development still that has to take place. Through the summer, I just thought about those games and wanted to take as much I could from those games — to see where I was at and what I had to train for this summer. There’s a lot. The pace was a lot faster; every level you go to, the pace is a little bit faster. Guys are a bit stronger, as well. Every jump, you have to be ready for that. That’s something that was expected, and it delivered when I was up. I’ve put on a little bit more weight. I’ve been working on my footwork. Stuff like that is what I did this summer. Even the [faceoff] dots; guys are lot quicker with their hands in faceoffs and they use different styles. You have to take that into account, as well.
On what he’s learned about himself over the past year that will help him moving forward
I think I’m a pretty confident guy. Just being able to play in the AHL last year, at such a young age and being able to hold my own, that’s something that really helped me with my confidence. Just knowing that I can be here and play with those guys. Then, when I got those couple games in the NHL, I thought I belonged there, that I fit in there. So just being comfortable with myself and being able to do that on the ice, that’s something I take away from the experience.
QB on his line today (with Kaliyev and Chromiak) – I'm more of a pass first guy, so it's great playing on a line with Arty, who is such a shooter. Chromes has a nice touch too; he's a fast skater, sets up plays and has a nice shot. I know him from playing against him in the OHL.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) September 16, 2021
Coach John Wroblewski had quite a bit to say about Byfield on Thursday (as well as Arthur Kaliyev). See his quotes here.
With the first of three games scheduled for the Kings in Arizona this weekend, we previously published our initial lineup projection, see below. And the second article has all relevant information for the Rookie Faceoff tournament, including streaming options.
The White Board: Kings Lineup Projection for Rookie Faceoff Tournament
Full Details on NHL Rookie Tournament, Including Kings Schedule
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