Kings trade forward Quinton Byfield to AHL-Ontario
A move from Sunday’s list, Insiders.
The LA Kings traded forward Quinton Byfield to the AHL’s Ontario Reign in an off day today. Byfield earned the 3C role coming out of training camp and made some notable strides early in the season as he formed an effective third line with Alex Iafallo in left and Gabe Vilardi in right. Byfield appeared in each of the team’s first eight games this season, tallying three assists, but has not played since Oct. 25 due to an illness, which caused him to miss each of the last six games of the team
“He’s back [on the ice]which is a great sign,” Todd McLellan said yesterday. “He lost a lot of weight and he’s going to have to get strong again. He’s going to need some time to recover.”
The Kings being away for a short trip likely didn’t help Byfield’s reintegration into the fold. The Kings haven’t had a team practice since Friday, Oct. 28, and that was right after Byfield got sick, so naturally he wouldn’t have practiced that day anyway. Todd McLellan has maintained this season that a player doesn’t just lose his spot to injury, but added that in Byfield’s case, it’s not a conversation at this point anyway because he’s not yet ready to play for the team. the NHL Having Rasmus Kupari come out of the AHL and fill that 3C role has been great and allows the Kings to stay patient with Byfield’s return.
“I’ve always said I don’t think anyone should lose their spot because of injury or illness, it’s out of their control,” McLellan said. “Usually you lose your spot in the lineup by indifferent play, so we’ll see when they all come back. There’s no decision that needs to be made right now about Quinton or Ras or anyone else in our lineup because [Byfield] He’s not ready to play yet.”
Byfield remains an important piece of what the Kings want to do up front, both now and in the future. He has a combination of size and speed that is enviable and this season he has made great strides with his work along the boards, making plays with the puck through the neutral zone and in space, as well as his success rate in win 1 vs 1. battles. Before Iafallo’s injury, the two with Vilardi were the most productive line in the gates.
The important thing for Byfield at this stage is individual recovery, regaining strength and energy as he returns to the NHL. The fact that Byfield is off waivers makes things easier, as he can head to the AHL without issue, though he would also have been eligible for a conditional loan had he claimed waivers. The focus at the AHL level is to get the player up to speed, just like anyone else.
“I would like to do it with Iafallo and whoever is out, Sammy Fagemo in the minors, Turcotte, we want to catch them up, because they are all important players and Q is no different from anyone else,” he added. McLellan added. “He needs energy, he needs strength and he needs to feel good about himself. We’ll see where he goes this week.”
Looking at the upcoming AHL schedule, Ontario is coming off a trip to Colorado over the weekend and will return to California for a 3-in-4 this coming weekend. The Reign are in San Jose on Thursday, Bakersfield on Saturday and Ontario on Sunday to host the San Diego Gulls. The Kings play an every other day schedule this week, with home games on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday before hitting the road for four games up north, starting in Calgary a week from tomorrow. It’s day-to-day when it comes to Byfield’s status, but the schedule has lined up pretty well this week as it comes to potentially working him into some AHL action before he returns to the club. NHL. We’ll see how things shake out with both groups this week.
As noted this morning, the Kings are off today and will return to the ice for practice tomorrow at 11 a.m. in El Segundo. The roster currently shows 22 players (13F, 7D, 2G), but with LA and Ontario inside the state lines this week, additional roster moves are pretty easy if needed. A story about the offensive nature of Kings hockey through 14 games to follow this afternoon or early tomorrow!
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