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Predicting Quinton Byfield's Next Contract With The Los Angeles Kings – Hockey Writers –

A top prospect for the 2019-20 season, Quinton Byfield has been in the shadow of Alexis Lafreniere. Lafreniere is considered one of Canada's next best players, ready to change the franchise. Byfield was the second consensus prospect, sometimes leading fans to question whether he could push for the first draft pick. Both Byfield and Lafreniere had good starts to their NHL careers but have sprung up this past season. Lafreniere is a free agent in 2025, but Byfield's contract expires this offseason. So, what does his next contract look like?

Finding the Gem

Byfield is in a unique position entering his next contract. The 21-year-old just completed the final year of his entry-level contract, so there isn't much of a sample size to test. In his first season with the Kings, he played only six games. Over the next two seasons he had just eight goals and 32 points in 93 games before he had 20 goals and 55 points in 80 games this season. While there is little doubt that he will continue his success, there is an inherent risk in overpaying him with just one impressive season under his belt.

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There are two possible plans for his next contract. The first, and most likely, is a bridge deal. This will be a three-year contract where he will also become a free agent when the contract expires. He will be locked into the Kings organization, at least for a few seasons, as he will retain control of the team, but he will also set himself up for a major contract extension if his play continues to improve.

Byfield comparisons

The three-year contract will be the same as Dylan Strome and Martin Necas' recent contract extensions. Strome and Necas both signed two-year, $3 million annual average value (AAV) deals as restricted free agents. Byfield has the same production as Strome and Necas and could potentially fit a similar contract value if you're looking for a bridge deal. On a three-year contract, he could reach $3.5 to $4 million in AAV, and the contract will be adjusted so that his final year makes a qualifying offer in the $7 million range. This planning concept is common among young players in today's game, with Charlie McAvoy being one of the most prominent to use this format in the 2019 debates.

A small contract, but it could be a long-term deal. In the seven to eight year period, Byfield and Kings will be taking a gamble. Byfield's continued development is possible, making him a risk worth taking for Kings management, but not for Byfield as he won't collect the annual amount he might want.

Quinton Byfield, Los Angeles Kings (Jess Starr/Hockey Writers)

Comparable to this deal will be Minnesota Wild forwards Matt Boldy and Joel Eriksson Ek. Boldy, without even one full season under his belt, signed a seven-year, $7 million AAV contract with the Wild. Eriksson Ek, without going over 30 points in an NHL season, signed an eight-year, $5.25 million AAV contract in July 2021. Both contracts were risks the Wild organization was now happy to take.

Many other young stars were given long-term contracts that were considered risks by many when they were signed, such as Jack Hughes and Tim Stutzle, but are now considered bargains. The Kings taking this approach is risky, but signing Byfield to an eight-year contract worth around $7.5 million, within Boldy's AAV of $7 million. a possible agreement for the group in the long term.

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With the summer approaching, there is still plenty of time for Byfield to prove his worth in his next contract. Also, other pending free agents, like Casey Mittelstadt, Dawson Mercer, and Matthew Beniers, could sign, helping shape Byfield's next deal. Considering he only has one outstanding season in the NHL, his next contract would be a risk for both sides, marking one of the most anticipated signings this offseason.

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