Until this year’s tournament — frankly, until Tuesday night –, Quinton Byfield had been fairly quiet as a member of Team Canada. This was the year he was expected to put his stamp the World Junior Championships and show that his status as a second overall selection by the Los Angeles Kings was well warranted. With a breakout performance bound to come (or at least one he was certainly hoping one would), Byfield made a very loud and effective statement on Tuesday night in a 10-0 win over Team Switzerland.
It’s perhaps a bit more complicated than suggesting he’s been Canada’s second-best player, but in a matter of one game, he became Canada’s second leading scorer in the tournament. Byfield finished the night with two goals and four assists. As the game wore on, he seemed to get better and more comfortable, as did the rest of his teammates. The future Kings forward now has 7 points in 3 games played and still has four games to make a statement.
Perhaps most impressive, Byfield has been effective in primarily a depth role and he has not been on the ice for any of the three goals Canada has surrendered.
A Statement Game for Byfield
While one game doesn’t make Byfield a sure thing and fans aren’t going to erase or toss out a number of previous performances where he was largely absent from the scoresheet, this was a game he needed.
As prospects like Tim Stuetzle have been getting praise for their tournaments to date, if Byfield wanted to stay in the conversation as a player to watch and one who could perform on the bigger stage, a breakout game was something that might help silence his critics. Six points certainly didn’t quiet anyone down. But, at least if they’re talking about him, it’s in a positive light.
Most are saying Byfield has arrived. He may have. We’ll see what comes next now that he’s got a bit more confidence, his coaches do too and the world knows he’s a factor.
Jack Quinn had three assists, Jakob Pelletier scored twice and Dylan Cozens, Philip Tomasino, Ryan Suzuki, Connor McMichael, Cole Perfetti and Kaiden Guhle also scored in the victory.
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