It’s only been two days.
So, when I asked LA Kings coach Terry Murray which one guy has been the most impressive so far in camp, he gave a classic deadpan answer – “Mike Kalinowski.”
If you’ve never heard the name before, don’t worry. He’s not listed as one of the 65 names attending sessions at the team’s training facility this week.
Kalinowski is the Kings Senior Manager of Communications. Essentially, he’s one of the key guys who connects media with the players and people on the Hockey Operations side. He’s actually a great guy who goes out of his way to help those he deals with on a daily basis. Perhaps his only flaw is being a Vikings fan, but we’ll save that for a different article.
Back to camp…
Come on coach, a player…
“You know, having seen the young players through a week of Rookie Camp and a couple of games, there’s a couple guys there who have impressed me.”
Uh oh, will he hedge again? No, not Murray. He finally picked a name…
“I can say that Tyler Toffoli has played very well. Again, I go back to his first Development Camp (July 2010) and watching from upstairs, I was asking myself ‘Can he get going a little bit? Can he be better with the puck, stronger with the puck, make some plays?’ And I see a dramatic difference in his game from his first time on the ice with the LA Kings to where he his today.”
Murray wasn’t done though. He put away the broad brush and started painting with precision from that point forward.
“He’s very confident, he’s strong, his performance in the Rookie Games against Phoenix, he was one of the best players on the ice in my mind. He made those little, subtle plays that sometimes go unnoticed to the fans sitting in the stands – those little five-foot, three-foot plays that go through people – or around people – that make a difference and open up great scoring chances. He’s made them on a consistent basis. So, he’s been very good.”
Toffoli, a right wing, is listed at 6-foot-1 and 187 pounds. The Kings drafted him in the second round of the 2010 draft, held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. He’s played three years of junior hockey with the Ottawa 67’s and paced by a 57 goal outburst, he won the OHL Scoring Title last season.
MayorsManor has him listed as the number three prospect in the Kings organization right now (full rankings here).
For more from Murray on Toffoli, check out these comments he made back in July following this summer’s Development Camp.
To hear from Toffoli, click here to read his exclusive interview after returning home from evaluation camp with Team Canada in early August.