We’ve got our first vote onto the Community Draft Board, folks! Yesterday, we talked a little bit about Alexis Lafreniere, who figures to be the consensus first overall pick, but now we’re dipping into the community votes, and the community has spoken. At second on our list is Quinton Byfield, a talented offensive playmaking center, who might just be making an impact in the NHL sooner rather than later. Quinton Byfield, hello
BSH 2020 Community Draft Board, No. 2: Quinton Byfield
Team: Sudbury Wolves, OHL
Statistics: 32 G, 50 A in 45 GP
No. 2 (NA Skaters/Goalies) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 2 by Future Considerations
No. 3 by ISS Hockey
No. 2 by Wheeler/The Athletic
What’s there to like?
In some ways I hate the lead with this, but it is something that stands out. Byfield is big—6’4, 214 lbs—but he moves well for his size. He isn’t’ a positively stellar skater, like some of the other prospects we’ll be talking about soon, but he’s improved his stride enough that he’s able to show good mobility and push play positively. He’s able to use that speed when necessary, but also excels in manipulating the pace of play to control more of the game, himself.
To talk about hockey sense can at times be something of an imprecise exercise, but this is a strength of Byfield’s, how he’s able to read and anticipate plays and then use that to get himself in the position to either make or break up a play (depending on the context). He’s a confident and creative playmaker, and with a strong shot to boot, he brings a pretty complete offensive game. His defensive game isn’t perfect—a little more on that later—but he’s shown he can be effective defensively (strong instincts, hello), with some good backchecking and an ability to force turnovers.
It’s also worth noting that Byfield is young for this draft (born August 16, 2002), so if we take age into consideration, his achievements relative to his draft classmates look even more impressive, as they’ve had a bit more time to develop than him. There are even some folks who, because of this and the fact that Lafreniere is old for this draft class, that Byfield is at least an equal (or even better!) prospect. Oh baby.
What’s not to like?
Truthfully, not much. He seems to have lost a bit of luster in some scouts’ eyes since the midseason rankings came out, but that more than anything seems to be a combination of him having sort of a lackluster World Juniors, as well as a couple of other top prospects having really strong second halves and making surges. But all of that, in my opinion, isn’t something to be too fussed about. Byfield is a very talented player, and second on the list feels like the right spot.
As for his game, there’s some work that needs to be done on the defensive side of his game (particualrly on the forecheck), but there doesn’t seem to be anything to suggest that this is an area that won’t improve with work and repetition, even as soon as over the next year. He projects to have a pretty complete game, overall, even if it will take a bit of work to get there (but, you know, that’s kind of the deal with prospects).
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
Byfield isn’t completely NHL ready just yet, but he’s one of the closer players of this top prospect group, and he figures to be an impact center at the NHL level soon. And this might be a weird fit for the Flyers—they already have Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes anchoring the top two lines at center, Nolan Patrick might be returning to the team soon (maybe?), and if not, Morgan Frost is knocking on the door for a crack at that role, plus they’ve got a couple of other center prospects who are pushing for jobs, or will be soon. The Flyers are sort of loaded at center, right now, at least in their prospect pool, so while Byfield is extremely talented and would give them a huge boost, there would be a question, still, of space.
But, that said, having too much talent isn’t a bad problem to have. A player of this caliber would certainly be hard to turn down.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
Sigh. Probably not. I guess it’s always possible that they could pull off some kind of crazy trade to send a huge package of roster players, prospects, and/or picks to Los Angeles, but it doesn’t really make sense for the Flyers to gut their roster for a future player (as good as he may be!), and the Kings seem to be pretty firmly in rebuild mode right now, and would probably be looking to hold on to that pick and keep building up their pipeline. Whomp whomp.
We’ll make two additions to the poll:
Alexander Holtz — RW, Djurgardens (SHL) — 9 G, 7 A in 35 GP
An offensively very skilled player. Holtz is a true goal scorer with an impressive wrist shot and slapper. Has the ability to know exactly where to be on the ice to make things happen. Also a smart player with good on-ice-vision and fine technical skills. Not a poor playmaker either, as he sees openings well and sets up his teammates, although he prefers to finish the play himself. Capable skater, although his acceleration could be better. - Elite Prospects
Tim Stutzle — C/LW, Adler Manheim (DEL)— 7 G, 27 A in 41 GP
Stützle is the quickest player in the draft through his acceleration, and maybe at his top speed too. He’s also in competition with Jamie Drysdale for having the lightest stride in the class. He looks like he’s floating out there and his feet never drag through his crossovers or his pushes. It makes him a threat to make something happen out of a foot race or to burn a defender in transition. He can also play at different tempos, which is a huge asset for a player with that kind of skating ability. - The Athletic
2020 BSH Community Draft Board
- Alexis Lafreniere — LW, Rimouski (QMJHL)
- Quinton Byfield — C, Sudbury (OHL)
Please use your vote below to answer the following question: If all of the players listed were available when the Flyers were on the clock, who would you want them to pick?
Who should be No. 4 on the 2020 BSH Community Draft Board?
This poll is closed