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31 in 31

Top prospects for Los Angeles Kings

Byfield, Vilardi expected to play in NHL; Turcotte, Kaliyev on cusp

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 31 teams from Nov. 16-Dec. 16. Today, the top five prospects for the Los Angeles Kings, according to NHL.com.

 

[Kings 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Fantasy breakdown | Behind the Numbers]

 

1. Quinton Byfield, F 

How acquired: Selected with No. 2 pick in 2020 NHL Draft

2019-20 season: Sudbury (OHL): 45 GP, 32-50-82

The 18-year-old center, the highest-drafted Black player in NHL history, tied for fifth in the Ontario Hockey League in points per game (1.82), led Sudbury in points, assists and plus-minus (plus-26), and was second in goals.

Byfield (6-foot-4, 215 pounds), who signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Los Angeles on Oct. 16, said he will not join the Kings until he is finished playing for Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is scheduled for Dec. 25, 2020 to Jan. 5, 2021, in Edmonton.

"Physically, I think he has the ability to step in the NHL with his size and his skating ability," Kings general manager Rob Blake said in October. "Those players that are drafted in that type of level, there's always that type of look at them to see if they project to be in the NHL as soon as next year. Physically, his size would do that, but there's a lot more that goes into it."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Video: Los Angeles Kings select Quinton Byfield

 

2. Alex Turcotte, F 

How acquired: Selected with No. 5 pick in 2019 NHL Draft

2019-20 season: Wisconsin (NCAA): 29 GP, 9-17-26

The 19-year-old center signed a three-year, entry-level contract March 11 after his freshman season at Wisconsin. Turcotte (5-11, 185) was expected to join Ontario of the American Hockey League prior to last season being canceled, and he will compete for an NHL spot at training camp.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

 

3. Arthur Kaliyev, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 33 pick in 2019 NHL Draft

2019-20 season: Hamilton (OHL): 57 GP, 44-54-98

The 19-year-old right wing was fifth in points and tied for sixth in goals in the OHL last season after scoring 102 points (51 goals, 51 assists) in 67 games with Hamilton in 2018-19. Kaliyev (6-2, 190) has scored 126 goals and 248 points in 192 OHL games (1.29 points per game) and should help the Kings offense, which ranked 30th last season (2.53 goals per game), when he makes it to the NHL. He could spend this season developing in the AHL.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

 

4. Gabriel Vilardi, F 

How acquired: Selected with No. 11 pick in 2017 NHL Draft

2019-20 season: Los Angeles (NHL): 10 GP, 3-4-7; Ontario (AHL): 32 GP, 9-16-25

The 21-year-old center made an immediate impact when he was recalled in February, scoring two points in his NHL debut against the Florida Panthers, including a goal 10 seconds into his first NHL shift. Vilardi (6-3, 201) scored at least one point in five of his 10 NHL games and could begin the season centering the second line. 

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Video: 31 in 31: Los Angeles Kings 2020-21 season preview

 

5. Tobias Bjornfot, D 

How acquired: Selected with No. 22 pick in 2019 NHL Draft

2019-20 season: Los Angeles (NHL): 3 GP, 0-0-0; Ontario (AHL): 44 GP, 6-13-19

The 19-year-old made the Kings out of training camp last season and played their first three games before being assigned to the AHL. Bjornfot (6-0, 202) proved to be responsible with the puck, leading Ontario with a plus-13 rating as a rookie. He has a chance to make the Kings this season on the third defense pair.

"Tobias Bjornfot, a young player who probably wasn't projected to even be over in North America, made the team out of camp, and then ended up spending the year in the American League. So whatever the best development is, we look at," Blake said.

Projected NHL arrival: This season

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