The Detroit Red Wings should avoid taking Quinton Byfield if they do not have the first overall selection to choose Alexis Lafrenière.
Until the season picks back up or the regular season is deemed over, the Detroit Red Wings will not be able to learn their fate in the NHL Draft Lottery. They could end up with any of the first four selections, they have the best odds, but technically the Ottawa Senators have better odds.
If the Red Wings can still weasel their way into the first overall pick, Alexis Lafrenière is the sure choice, but if they do not, staying away from Quinton Byfield would be the best. There are better options than Byfield, not to say he is not talented, but there are others that should be taken.
The Red Wings are in a position where taking the best possible talent is going to aid the rebuild. They have a plethora of young talent waiting for the opportunity to show their stuff in the NHL as they mature through the minor leagues, so the question is, why not Byfield?
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Byfield is a 6-foot-4, 214-pound left-handed shot who plays center for the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
This past season, Byfield scored 32 goals and added 50 assists for 82 points over 45 total games for the Wolves.
He also was a part of the 2020 IIHF World Junior champion Team Canada roster but only registered one assist over seven games.
Byfield also was a captain during the CHL Top Prospects game, alongside Lafrenière who was the other squads’ captain.
His offensive upside and ability hint at some real raw potential that has some scouts or scouting outlets ranking Byfield at second overall.
His youth, being seventeen as of now, means he will continue to grow into his body, but if he maintains the scoring threat he is, he will be impeccable. Keeping that in mind, it shows how in most facets of his game he is still going to develop as he makes jumps to the NHL.
Byfield’s large frame certainly draws some intrigue about his ability to use that to his advantage. He has been compared to Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews and his playmaking ability in the offensive zone.
However, on the flip side, there are some questions about Byfield’s soundness in the defensive zone and the ability to win draws consistently. These things would not take much away from his draft stock as a solid top-three pick, possibly sliding to four or five with a surprise pick.
Something that might worry a team like the Red Wings is his skill set is very raw in most aspects and would take some development as he makes the jump to higher levels of hockey. He is still going to be a top talent, but some of the other prospects may not need as much development.
The Red Wings should look to a player who can hopefully develop and get through the minors sooner rather than later to (hopefully) join Michael Rasmussen, Moritz Seider, Joe Veleno, and/or Filip Zadina in the NHL.
Byfield is a phenomenal prospect, but the Red Wings have it set up where three of their best prospects/players are centerman. Drafting a winger like Tim Stützle might be better than having to shift someone to a winger position.
It is not to say the Detroit Red Wings should pass on Byfield if the other top talents are gone, but if the opportunity to take one of the other top talents is there, they should pursue that.