Rookie Tournament Takeaway – 5 Focus Points from San Jose

Good morning, insider! Hope you have enjoyed following along with our coverage of the last five days of Rookie Faceoff 2022. With a bunch of promising young players now in Southern California, let’s take a look at some of the impressions from the three games in San Jose. For the second year in a row, the Kings earned a 2–1–0 record from the event and had few individual standouts as the group was evaluated by internal management and scouts from across the NHL.

Here are five takeaways from the trip:

byfield leads the way
Since he was drafted No 2 overall more than two years ago, all eyes have been on Quinton byfield. That’s what happened again this week as the Kings top prospect made his way to San Jose. Bayfield’s 2021 president was marred with injuries. Even dating back to the team’s development camp a month before the rookie faceoff in Arizona, Byfield was a limited participant due to injury. He appeared in first game action from LA’s main camp, but then an accident in the boards during NHL preseason action delayed the start of his regular season campaign.

All told, Byfield played 40 NHL games and another 11 in the AHL during 2021-22, but whether it was an injury or an inconsistent role, we are still waiting to see the 20-year-old put it all together.

With this year’s rookie event in the books, I think it’s fair to say that we saw almost everything we could expect from the QB. The 55 was on the ice in the Kings’ opener against Colorado, creating offense and dominating the game the way his coaches wanted him to see. He finished with four shots on goal, including chances on both 5-on-5 and power play.

“I thought he was our best forward,” Ontario Reign head coach Marco Sturm said. “I know he didn’t score or didn’t have any points, but he’s good. He’s very demanding and he should be. He came in really good shape here, all we can tell is he Worked really hard this summer and hopefully he is going to grab that spot with the Kings and take the next step.

Monday’s game three was more equal as Bayfield found more chemistry with linemates Tyler Madden and Aatu Jamsen to help generate two of the team’s three goals. He was credited with first aid on Jamsen’s second period strike to extend the LA lead. With less than 90 seconds to play in the game and an empty net at the end of the San Jose Sharks attempting to get on board, Byfield stepped in front of a shot that was visible from his face. He stood on his feet, helped the puck recover, and eventually Madden found Jameson to take the win.

While Byfield was not officially credited with an assist on an empty-net strike, he certainly was a big part of the play. Nice to see the big man rewarding him and building up his confidence before starting the main camp with the rest of the Kings roster on Thursday.

“For the whole room, it’s important to have a guy like him in the lineup,” Sturm said. “I think he’s taken charge on ice and snow and I think it’s going to help him as a hockey player and as a person.”

strong punishment murder
The Kings received spectacular penalty killings in all three games, with a combined 12-for-12 completing an all-out effort that included a two-minute 5-on-3 chance for Vegas on Saturday afternoon. It was the second straight year they finished without a man under one, as some of these players also took part in an 18-for-18 effort during three games in Arizona last September.

After a penalty-free opening period during Friday’s matchup with Colorado, the Kings committed five small violations in the final 40 minutes. But excellent work on the penalty kill kept the Avalanche off the board while keeping LA in the game until the end, even in a contest that was ultimately recorded as a loss.

The same was clearly true about the goalscorers being the most important part of a PK, as both netminders who saw the action rose to the occasion in those conditions.

“The bullets gave us a chance to win a hockey game every day and they were really solid,” Sturm said. “I think they took a big step forward in the season by getting in great shape and hopefully they’ll continue that development process.”

Jacob Ingham blocked 30 shots on Friday before David Herrenack separated 20 in 65 minutes of action on Saturday before he faced both shootout attempts. The Kings put up their best defensive performance in Monday’s finale, with only 19 shots in total. Ingham made nine bids in the first half of the competition, while each closed the door at the shutout with 10 stops during the back half.

It was a complete team effort when a man down, with a commitment to block shots and stay in the lanes, then getting a 200-foot clearance made all the difference.

All eyes on Clark
While this was the second time that Brandt Clarke has been included in the roster for a rookie faceoff, this week marks his debut in the Kings jersey on the ice after missing all of last season’s events due to an illness. He certainly made a mark and in many ways was arguably the talk of the tournament.

Clarke got two first aides in LA’s opening game on Friday, setting up Francesco Pinelli in the first period and then Taylor Ward on the power play in the middle frame. He also hit a total of six shots over the net in a losing attempt and stood out with his aggressive creativity and ability to successfully make high-end plays that others would not attempt.

Then came Saturday, in which the 19-year-old earned two assists before once again potting a game-winning shootout strike. Clarke helped with both goals from Martin Chromiak’s third period to bring the Kings back into the game and erased a two-goal deficit and five shots on goal. But he also took a hit up, right after the buzzer sounded to end regulation time and was able to return for the ensuing power play in overtime.

His performance on Monday didn’t have as many aggressive features, but he was still able to impress his coach.

“Today I thought it was his best game,” Sturm said after the shutout win. “He was very solid, he didn’t do much, just played a really good game and that’s what we need from him. He’s learning too, and a lot of things we saw on video or even during the game, some of the things he didn’t know yet. He is a young kid and has to learn but he is definitely a good player and we are excited that we have him in our group.

There’s certainly a lot of intrigue about Clarke’s game at King’s Camp this week, and for good reason. The former eighth overall pick has all the tools to become an impressive two-way defender for years to come.

Room for Improvement in Power Play
Despite a number of high-level offensive talents across the roster, the Kings didn’t seem to have a good rhythm on the man-advantage this week. Perhaps it was the fact that the group only practiced together or that the lineup changed constantly, but the big guns never looked comfortable and weren’t able to make opponents pay for their penalties.

LA scored two power play goals out of 15 opportunities, so it wasn’t like they were completely closed, but they weren’t able to generate as many chances in some high-leveraged situations. The Kings went on to a 0-for-6 victory without the help of the unit on the scoreboard on Monday.

Ward grabbed a chance during the second period on Friday for the first conversion, and Chromiac drew Saturday’s contest 4-4 in the third.

Most notably, the team was in a position to win the game because of a 5-minute, 4-on-3 opportunity for full overtime against Vegas on Saturday, and in that instance, there were certainly opportunities, which involved multiple shots that The posts were closed. But no one found the dagger during the long sequence.

You may not put too much stock in the outcome of an event like this, but it was certainly an opportunity to show your best offense to the prospect that was missed.

Defensemen joining the offensive end
There was a lot to like from the back end as a whole, with Clark leading the roster in defenders’ offensive efforts. While no goals were scored by the LA Blueliners, they were certainly a substantial portion of the offense.

Landon Kosier, invited to the second year’s camp, recorded four shots on goal in the opener against Colorado, and when Clarke’s six attempts were combined with Helge Grans’ two attempts, the Kings got 12 opportunities from half their lineup Blueliners in game one. lamps.

The following day was Jordan Spence’s only appearance in San Jose and he certainly deserved attention by posting seven shots over the net, the most number of games by any Kings player during the week. In what was a tune before main camp for a second-year pro, he certainly sounded like someone who had played meaningful games at NHL level last season.

In Monday’s victory, the Kings were led by Jamsen, who scored two of three goals, but blueliner Kim Nausianen scored five shots over the net, the most of any skater in the game. Nausianen, who finished last season with Ontario in eight games, was also a standout in Friday’s game when he posted an assist on Francesco Pinelli’s opening goal.

The Kings’ training camp is set to begin on Thursday at the Toyota Sports Performance Center. More information and full coverage of the main camp coming soon here on LAKI!

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