Kings forward Quinton Byfield is expected to return Wednesday against the Predators, team editorial content manager Zach Dooley reports. The 21-year-old missed the last two games with an illness and was listed as day-to-day.
In doing so, he’s projected to reclaim his spot on the first line alongside Anže Kopitar and Adrian Kempe. It’s been a breakout season for the 2020 second-overall pick, who’s set career highs with 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points through 45 games. He’s tied for fourth on the team in scoring with Trevor Moore and is averaging over 15 minutes per game for the first time in a full season.
Unfortunately, underwhelming play from the rest of the squad has the Kings reeling. The team is 2-8-6 in their last 16 games and is now in a three-way tie for the two Western Conference Wild Card spots with the Blues and Predators. That makes Byfield’s return tonight a key piece of news ahead of Los Angeles’ most consequential game of the season thus far.
The 6-foot-5, 225-lb pound forward is in the final season of his entry-level contract and is a pending RFA. His next deal will undoubtedly take up a decent chunk of LA’s projected $22.5MM in cap space next season (via CapFriendly).
Other notes ahead of tonight’s Kings-Preds showdown on national TV in the United States:
- Dooley also reports that depth forward Trevor Lewis is questionable for tonight after missing practice with an undisclosed injury Tuesday. Lewis skated this morning, but Dooley called his availability “wait and see.” The 37-year-old has five goals and nine points in 47 games this season after returning to his former squad on a one-year, $775K deal in free agency. Lewis was the Kings’ second of two first-round picks in 2006 and was a member of both the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup-winning teams. While he hasn’t produced much offense, he’s been quite effective in a shutdown role for his league-minimum deal. Centering Blake Lizotte (currently injured) and Carl Grundström on the Kings’ fourth line, the trio has produced an expected goals share of 57.1%, per MoneyPuck. They’ve limited opponents to 2.09 expected goals against per 60 minutes, the lowest among any Los Angeles forward line with over 100 minutes together.
- Predators defenseman Alexandre Carrier will be a game-time decision with an undisclosed injury, head coach Andrew Brunette said (via 102.5 ESPN Nashville’s Nick Kieser). Carrier, 27, skated 8:01 against the Senators on Monday before leaving the game in the second period. If he draws in, it’s projected to be a second-pairing role alongside Ryan McDonagh. A 2015 fourth-round pick, the Predators re-signed Carrier to a one-year, $2.5MM deal last summer to walk him to UFA status next July. He’s rebounding well from a difficult 2022-23 campaign, posting four goals and 10 assists in 46 games while controlling 50% of Corsi events at even strength. His ice time is up slightly, averaging 18:09 per game compared to last season’s 17:53.