Why Quinton Byfield at 1st Overall Isn’t All That Crazy

Tony Ferrari

2020-07-10

 

Quinton Byfield is closer to Alexis Lafrenière than he is to whoever is at number three. 

 

That has been a sentiment I’ve held for the entirety of the 2019-20 season. Despite the fact that Lafrenière is the clear-cut best player today, the unique potential that Byfield possesses is what makes it a discussion. There is a unique blend of size, speed, and skill that Byfield has that could make him a top-five center in the NHL in the not-too-distant future. He has the ability to absolutely dominate his competition. There is the fact that he is among the youngest draft-eligible prospects in the 2020 draft with an August 19h birthday. Yeah, he’s still 17 years old for almost six more weeks. For reference, Lafrenière turns 19 in October. A massive difference at this stage of their development. Need more convincing? Below is the latest update to his prospect page here on DobberProspects and his shot chart from this season courtesy of InStat Hockey.

 

Quinton Byfield dealt with injuries a couple of times this season and had his year shortened because of the pandemic but his 1.82 points-per-game finished tied with Cole Perfetti for fifth in the OHL. Only league leader Marco Rossi finished ahead of him among draft-eligible players. He recorded three-plus points in 13 of his 45 contests and reached the five-point mark on two occasions. There were flashes of dominance throughout the season and yet there still seems to be so much left to unearth in Byfield’s game. His combination of size, speed, and skill give him a truly unique package that could make him the best player in the 2020 NHL Draft. Byfield has the ability to be a difference-maker in all areas of the game. Should he be given a proper chance to develop with a smart team and highly attentive development staff, Byfield has the chance to be one of the best centers in the NHL. The Sudbury Wolves star had some struggles this season to be sure but the still 17-year-old is one of the youngest members of the 2020 draft. His production at this stage of his development is special. Having anyone else as your number two, fantasy or otherwise, may look like a silly decision in a couple of years’ time.

 

 

The Stars Align

 

Now to why we’re here. Why I feel that Byfield going first overall makes more sense now than ever has a multifaceted explanation. It begins with what we’ve already covered. The ceiling for the Sudbury Wolves center is sky-high. There is a world where Byfield could be talked about with the likes of Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel as players who are some of the best in the world and not named Connor McDavid. There is no guarantee that he is able to get to that level but the potential is there. If he does not get to that level, he likely winds up having a similar impact to Ryan Getzlaf or Mark Scheifele.