Manor Analytics Perspective: Quinton Byfield’s Breakout Season

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All stats are as of Feb 14, 2024. Data is sourced from MoneyPuck.com and Hockey Reference.

This season has been a breakout year for the 2020 second-overall pick Quinton Byfield. After splitting time between the Kings and AHL affiliate Ontario Reign over the past few years, Byfield has found his role with the Kings and has been a consistent producer so far this season.

In this article, we will break down Byfield’s numbers so far this season and take a look at some of the basics as well as the more advanced stats.

Let’s start with the basics:

Byfield has totaled 38 points (16 G, 22 A) through 48 games, putting him on track for just under 65 points this season. He has a 16.7% shooting percentage (calculated by dividing the number of goals by number of shots on goal), which is similar to Brayden Point (17.4%) and Valeri Nichushkin (17.2%). This isn’t an elite shooting percentage, but when you compare it to previous seasons, it is a drastic improvement and does place him in the top 50 in the league of players with over 200 minutes of ice time. In the 22-23 season, Byfield shot 4.1% and only scored 3 goals through 53 games. Maybe some of that was bad puck luck, but leaping from 4.1% of shots scoring to nearly 17% is a massive improvement no matter how you look at it.

Byfield is also first on the team in points per 60 minutes, just edging out Kevin Fiala (2.93 points per 60), with 3.04 points per 60.

Of shifts started outside the neutral zone, Byfield has started 54% of his shifts in the offensive zone and 46% in the defensive zone. This near 50/50 split tells us that Byfield isn’t necessarily being spoon-fed opportunities by his teammates. He is putting in the work to get out of his own end and create offensive opportunities.

Now, let’s shift to some of Byfield’s more advanced stats:

Byfield leads the team in high-danger xGoals with 12.02. We explain what xGoals is, why it matters, and how it is calculated in this article.

MoneyPuck.com defines high-danger shots as “unblocked Shot attempts with >= 20% probability of being a goal.” This is just a way to categorize shots by their quality and chance of scoring a goal. High-danger xGoals is just a combination of these concepts. It is your total xGoals from only high-danger shots. Having a high high-danger xGoals number means that a player is taking a lot of high-danger shots and that they all have a good chance of scoring. Byfield leads both of these categories on the Kings with 30 high-danger unblocked shot attempts (2nd is Trevor Moore with 27) and 12.02 high-danger xGoals (2nd is also Moore with 8.6).

When looking at created xGoals, Byfield ranks third on the team with 18.8.

Created xGoals is very similar to normal xGoals, but gives the player additional credit for any rebound opportunity created by the shot. For example, if Byfield and Kopitar are entering the zone in a 2-on-1 and Byfield shoots for the top corner, that shot will have a relatively low created xGoal value. But if Byfield shoots for the pads, it will have a higher created xGoal value because there is a much better chance that a rebound is created and capitalized on for a goal.

Although Byfield isn’t having an all-star season, he has earned his spot on the top line and proved he can succeed there. The doubters may say that playing on a line with a future Hall of Famer in Anze Kopitar has contributed to his success, which is unequivocally true, but Byfield has clearly put in the work on his own which has led to his success this season. If you look at Kings lines (with over 100 minutes of ice time), the Kempe-Kopitar-Byfield line ranks 5th (of 7) in xGoals per 60 and xGoals%. This tells us that it isn’t necessarily Byfield’s linemates carrying him to all of these numbers, but Byfield is doing some of the heavy lifting as well.

Quinton Byfield is having the best season of his young NHL career this year, and it will be very exciting to see where he goes from here. Hopefully the Kings are able to capitalize on this young talent and make him a key piece of the team in the upcoming years.

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