In this edition of Kings News & Rumors, I discuss the recent injury to Quinton Byfield, the praise Brandt Clarke received from the Ontario Hockey League media, and the Ontario Reign have started their preseason.
In a preseason game against the Arizona Coyotes on Oct. 5, the Kings suffered a heavy blow when Byfield, their top prospect, had to be helped off the ice after crashing foot first into the boards. The next day, he was placed on the injured reserve list with a fractured ankle. This is especially disappointing after a fantastic preseason, and several people had him penciled in to start the season with the Kings.
There is a small silver lining to this injury: it could’ve been worse. It sounds like there was no ligament damage, and therefore he won’t require surgery on his ankle. We can expect a 6-10-week recovery period, assuming no undetected ligament damage and surgery remains unnecessary.
Unfortunately, Byfield will likely be sent down to the American Hockey League after he recovers. However, I still expect him to cement his spot on the NHL roster by the end of the season, even though the Kings will be extremely cautious with his recovery. Byfield’s injury also opens up a roster spot for another prospect, and Rasmus Kupari’s play on the wing has caught the eye of the organization. There’s also the stellar play of Arthur Kaliyev, who led the team’s big comeback win against the Anaheim Ducks with three goals and an assist.
Clarke Given High Praise
The OHL recently conducted their pre-season Media Poll, with media members sharing their opinions on which teams and players will have the most success this season. Kings fans will be excited to see their most recent first-round pick led the vote for best defenseman. Clarke won a commanding 71% of the votes as members of the media seem convinced he will be a dominant player for the Barrie Colts.
When you pair his skills and offensive ablitiy with the guys he’s going to be sharing the ice with, there’s no reason to think Clarke won’t flirt with 100 points this season.– from, “OHL Media Pill: #OHLOpeningWeek Predictions,” OHL.com
If he’s able to grab 100 points – as one voter stated is possible – he would be the first OHL defenseman to do so since Ryan Ellis in 2010-11. Even if he doesn’t reach that total, he is primed for an incredible season with the Colts, who are the favorite to win the OHL championship.
Clarke and fellow prospect Martin Chromiak will give Kings fans plenty of reason to watch the OHL this season. A fantastic post-draft season would put Clarke in a great spot to make the Kings roster in 2022-23, especially after his impressive development camp earlier this summer.
Reign Start Their Preseason
The Reign faced their Southern California rivals, the San Diego Gulls, to kick off their preseason recently. They fell 4-2 in what was a particularly feisty game. These two teams do not like each other, even in the preseason. The Reign were missing several players who were still with the Kings for this game. Players like Alex Turcotte, Kaliyev, and other prospects have yet to rejoin the team. After signing reigning AHL MVP T.J Tynan and long-time goalie Garret Sparks, the Reign have put together a strong roster and should be one of the league’s best teams.
My name is Austin Stanovich, as a lifelong player and fan I’m hoping to bring my own unique perspective on the hockey world, specifically covering the Los Angeles Kings. As a SoCal native I grew up a Kings fan, and after graduating from Long Beach State in 2020 I’ve joined The Hockey Writers crew as a columnist for the Kings.