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Friday’s NHL: Kings lock in second overall pick Quinton Byfield for three years

Associated Press

The Los Angeles Kings have signed No. 2 overall draft pick Quinton Byfield to a three-year contract.

The Kings announced the entry-level deal Friday with Byfield, a powerful 6-foot-5 center from Ontario.

The 18-year-old Byfield is likely to play another year of junior hockey before he moves to the NHL, but the Kings haven’t ruled out anything with their top prospect before he attends his first training camp.

In this Jan. 16 photo, Team Red center Quinton Byfield (55) moves in on Team White goaltender Dylan Garand (32) while defended by Jack Thompson (23) during the second period of hockey's CHL Top Prospects Game in Hamilton, Ontario.

Byfield became the highest-drafted Black player in NHL history when Los Angeles chose him earlier this month. He had 32 goals and 50 assists in 45 games last season with the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves.

The Kings finished the coronavirus-shortened regular season with the NHL’s fourth-worst points total. They’ve missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2009.

Leafs sign Thornton

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed 41-year-old forward Joe Thornton to a one-year, $700,000 contract.

Thornton, a six-time all star and the winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy in 2006 as the NHL’s MVP, is the second Ontario-born veteran to sign a league-minimum deal with the Maple Leafs in free agency, joining Jason Spezza.

Selected first overall by Boston in the 1997 NHL draft, Thornton has 420 goals and 1,089 assists in the 1,636 regular-season games with the Bruins and San Jose Sharks and 31 goals and 102 assists in 179 playoff games. In 70 games last season for San Jose, he had seven goals and 24 assists.