LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Kings forward Quinton Byfield, a highly touted rookie already being mentioned as a candidate for the Calder Trophy, suffered a left ankle fracture in Wednesday’s preseason game against the Arizona Coyotes and is out indefinitely.
Byfield, 19, the No. 2 overall pick in the NHL draft last season, was placed on injured reserve and will be reevaluated. The Kings begin the regular season Oct. 14.
Byfield suffered the injury during the third period of the Kings’ 4-1 loss, when he hit the corner boards awkwardly during a collision with Arizona right wing Christian Fischer. Byfield was unable to put any weight on his left leg and was helped off the ice.
“It was a clean hit. It was unfortunate,” Los Angeles coach Todd McLellan said. “He went into the boards. One skate went one way and one the other. It’s in a corner. If it is in a straightaway, he would have got away with rolling off but there was nowhere to go. Not a dirty hit.”
Byfield had an inside track to center the fourth line going into the opener vs. the Vegas Golden Knights. He spent most of last season with Ontario of the American Hockey League, but did play in six games for the Kings, finishing with one assist.
With the Kings on what many feel is the closing end of a rebuild, there were high hopes for Byfield this season, especially given some of the veteran presence Los Angeles brought in to mesh with one of the younger core groups in the league. The Kings hope to compete for a playoff berth this season, and though Vegas is the clear favorite in the Pacific Division, the Kings’ roster does compare well to many other teams in that division.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.