After taking home the championship in the Wendy Dufton Memorial Tournament, the hype train for Quinton Byfield is – rightfully – ramping into full gear.
Having watched the ’02 age group from start to finish a year ago in bantam, it became perfectly clear that Byfield and Peterson were very much in a 1A/1B type of situation. Having watched this same ’02 age group through October 9th, one thing is pretty clear, that two-man race doesn’t exist in present form.
As Byfield all but clenches his first on the top ranking in this crop, his performance this year is a feat that is currently on pace to extend beyond just the first overall pick.
…he’s got the potential to do something that’s only been done one other time in the OHL Cup era.
In the 2005/06 season, the Markham Waxers were the powerhouse team to beat in Ontario. It was a team that would ultimately feature five top-40 picks in the 2006 OHL Priority Selection.
It was also a team that featured the top pick in the draft, Steven Stamkos, who currently stands – albeit unofficially – as the only player to have a 100-goal season in Ontario minor midget in the aforementioned OHL Cup era. Yeah, it was quite a season for the lanky kid from Unionville as he would go on to rip off 105 goals in just 66 games played.
It was an incredible feat, one that has yet to be topped by the myriad of talent that has gone through the minor midget loop in the 10+ years since. It’s also a feat that may be toppled this season by one player: Quinton Byfield.
You’re probably thinking he plays against weaker competition in the ETA or that it’s only October, but the numbers here make a compelling case that Byfield won’t just hit 100 goals this season, he could very well end up exceeding Stamkos’ mark by a comfortable margin.
Let’s break into the numbers:
- Toronto Titans Tournament: 6 goals in 4 games played
- ETA MM Regular Season: 15 goals in 7 games played
- Wendy Dufton Tournament: 13 goals in 8 games played
This isn’t a video game, those are real numbers. 19 games played, 34 goals.
The pace thus far has Byfield scoring goals at a staggering clip of 1.78 per game. Contrast that against Stamkos? The 2008 first overall pick in the NHL Draft merely managed 1.59 per game.
Over the course of that same 66-game sample size Stamkos provides us with, Byfield would be on pace for 118 goals at this point in time. Assuming he stays healthy, however, the current structure of AAA hockey in the province would see Byfield play approximately 80 games, which should give him a very realistic opportunity at putting up in excess of 125 goals.
So what can we disseminate so far? Well, for starters, Byfield is putting up the type of season that you don’t see very often, and potentially at all. While it would be fair, and possibly even probable, to see his goals per game regress a bit to a mark below Stamkos’, the additional games played his season should yield will more than likely see him topple the Stamkos mark of 106 goals.
After we saw Graeme Clarke bag 82 a year ago; Connor McDavid score 79 as an underager; John McFarland with 96 back in 2009/10; and a 14-year-old John Tavares net 91 of his own as an underager; it may ultimately wind up being Quinton Byfield who stands head and shoulders above this pack with a non-traditional accolade worth remembering.
That being said, the calendar still says October. Uncertainty remains a factor, but if the first 19 games are any indication, 100 goals may very well just be the starting point.