In this edition of Los Angeles Kings News & Rumors, I’ll recap the team’s quiet trade deadline and Quinton Byfield’s first multi-goal game in the NHL. I will also discuss the Big Ten Hockey Championship, where Brock Faber and the Minnesota Gophers finished second.
Kings Stay Quiet at Deadline
Trying to make the postseason for the first time since 2018, many expected the Kings to be buyers on Monday. The team was rumored to be in on big names like Jakob Chychrun and Conor Garland. However, general manager Rob Blake only made one NHL trade, acquiring Troy Stecher from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a 2022 seventh-round pick.
I was surprised by the lack of activity out of Los Angeles. Roughly half of the roster is out with injuries, and while Stecher can help on the blue line until the regulars return, the team is heavily made up of prospects that have been playing in the American Hockey League (AHL) this season.
That said, I also understand why the Kings didn’t force any blockbuster deals. They have been through a long rebuild, and it doesn’t make sense to alter the team’s future to resolve a short-term injury issue. Blake has confidence in his team, which is warranted given their place in the standings, and he will stick with them for the playoffs.
Head coach Todd McLellan commented on the moves made by the front office on deadline day, saying, “You only get one Christmas Tree. That’s it. You get what’s under your tree, and you can’t worry about what your neighbors have. We’re doing things here for a reason, the organization has a plan and they’re sticking to it. I think I said that Rob and his staff do everything they possibly can, not just on trade deadline day, but every damn day.”
The Kings also moved a couple of players around at the AHL level, trading Brayden Burke to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Frederic Allard and Markus Phillips to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Nelson Nogier.
Byfield Posts First Multi-Goal Game in Win Over Predators
Tuesday night against the Predators, Byfield scored two goals for the first time in his NHL career. The Kings came out flying in the first period, with three goals from Adrian Kempe, Arthur Kaliyev, and Trevor Moore. Philip Tomasino answered in the second period for the Predators’ first goal of the game, but LA stuck with it, scoring an additional three in the third period — two from Byfield and one from Kempe. The Kings outshot the Predators 35-25 in the contest, and Jonathan Quick recorded an impressive .960 save percentage (SV%).
The two goals from Byfield were the third and fourth of his 31-game career and brought his totals to four goals and three assists through 25 games. He missed the beginning of the season due to injury, but he has shown steady improvement since his return, finally breaking through earlier this week.
After the game, Byfield commented on his first two-goal game: “I’m happy, definitely. I think, playing with Koops and Gabe, they have a lot of skill. Gabe found me earlier on in the game, and I didn’t get to bury that one. But Koops found me later on, and I got it. I had to bury that one, and I’m happy I got it.”
“Koops” and “Gabe” are Rasmus Kupari and Gabriel Vilardi, Byfield’s linemates as of late. With an average age of just 21, this line has given Kings fans a glimpse into what the future might look like. The trio will likely continue to prove that they should remain in the NHL even as injured players return to the lineup.
Faber, Gophers Finish Second in Big Ten
Over the weekend, Faber and the Minnesota Gophers took on the Michigan Wolverines in the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game. Minnesota got off to a hot start, scoring just over 30 seconds into the contest. From there, Michigan tallied two goals in the first period, followed by two more in the second. Matthew Knies did everything he could for the Gophers to try to get them back in the game, scoring two goals in the final minute of the third for a final score of 4-3.
Faber, the Kings’ second-round pick from 2020, has scored two goals and 11 assists for Minnesota in 29 games this season. The Gophers will open the NCAA hockey tournament versus the University of Massachusetts tomorrow, and he will look to make an impact as his team tries for the Frozen Four.
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Zackary Weiner is a high school student from New York City who covers the Los Angeles Kings here at The Hockey Writers. He is a lifelong hockey fan and player, and his previous experience includes writing articles about the NHL for various online publications. His articles cover a wide variety of topics that concern the Kings and he takes into account a range of viewpoints, making his articles a perfect read for anyone who wants to stay up to date on the team. Zackary is more than happy to get into a conversation with fellow Kings fans, so feel free to leave a comment below any of his articles like this one to let him know your opinion and what you want to see next. You can also listen to him talk about the team on Fantasy Hockey Life, The Hockey Writers Live, and Blackhawks Banter.