If you’re looking at a list of the Kings top forward prospects and trying to guess which ones may be playing in LA in a few years, the names Andy Andreoff, Michael Schumacher, Tyler Toffoli and Linden Vey are most definitely going to be part of the discussion.
Yet, each brings something different to the table. Toffoli’s the sniper, Vey has smarts, Schumacher brings size and Andreoff…well, he’s the freight train that will run you over to get it all done.
“He’s a team guy, meaning he reads the game and follows it and sees it,” said coach Nelson Emerson, after the Kings’ recently completed Development Camp. “If something is going on on the ice that he needs to deal with, he’s going to deal with it. Plus, he’s got all the skills – he has good hands, he makes plays, he protects the puck well, he can score. But, he’s also tough, he’s tough as nails. He understands that part of the game and that’s a real pleasure to coach and a real pleasure to have in your organization – a kid that will do that when it’s needed.”
Former head coach Terry Murray shared a similar sentiment last summer, describing Andreoff as a ‘pretty gritty guy’ and somebody who’s ‘in everybody’s face right away.’
During training camp there was some discussion about the burly forward spending the season in Manchester. However, in the end, he returned to the OHL for his over-age year. After his Oshawa Generals were eliminated from the playoffs though, he finally made his AHL debut – where he scored two goals in four games for the Monarchs.
He first arrived in LA for Dev Camp last summer, after being selected by the Kings in the third round of the 2011 NHL Draft. The 6-foot-1 winger also attended Rookie Camp with the Kings last fall. So, this time around, things were a bit easier on him.
Having a little bit of experience from last summer helps,” Andreoff shared. “Plus, it’s great to see the guys again. I’m pretty comfortable with them and even got close to some of them. Playing in Manchester helped a lot too, where I got to play with guys like (Robbie) Czarnik and Vey. So, it was good to see those guys again after playing with them a couple months ago.”
On the ice, there was another Monarch he seemed to keep targeting – “Yeah, I was battling with (Nick) Deslauriers. I was finishing my checks on him and having some fun with him. We laughed about it though. Battling with him is pretty fun. He’s a big, stay at home defenseman. But, he has a lot of offense in him too. He works hard in the corners and he’s a really strong, big kid. He’ll do well in Manchester or LA.”
Andreoff was paired up with Toffoli back at the hotel this time around. Did that make things easier or is it a real challenge being roommates with a guy he may be competing with for a roster spot?
“It doesn’t really matter, I don’t think,” said the 21-year old Andreoff. “If we were playing against each other, we’d still be battling. Toffoli’s a joker. He’s pretty funny. He’s a great guy, but it doesn’t really matter. You have to battle for your spot, it doesn’t matter who it is. I also think we’re a little bit different players (he laughed). So, we’re battling for a different spot.”
Prior to camp, Toffoli told MayorsManor it’s much easier to room with Andreoff than play against him. And we talked about their ongoing competition for the best tan, something Toffoli praises Andreoff for.
“He keeps telling me that. But, Ty has great flow. So, I’m a little jealous of that.”
Whether it’s Toffoli or LA’s other prospects from the OHL, Andreoff’s just taking it all in stride.
“I played against Tanner Pearson this season too, he had a great year. I also played against Schumacher and (Collin) Miller, so it was nice to see all those guys out there again as well. But, it’s different seeing them at first, because you played against them and battled against them during the regular season.”
Like Andreoff, Schumacher is also often described as a power forward. Yet, nearly everything about their size and game are completely different. However, they each have an exciting skill set that’s still under development.
“I think he’s a great player,” Andreoff said of Schumacher. “When we played against the Soo, he impressed me. He’s a big forward and wins battles in the corner – and a lot of guys don’t want to go in the corner with a guy who’s 6-foot-5. So, I think he’ll do well when he moves on to being a pro.”
When it comes to Vey, he may not be the quiet guy many have labeled him as.
“He talks a lot,” Andreoff proclaimed. “In the dressing room, he’s probably the most talkative guy in there. He’s a funny kid, good character.”
With Toffoli and Andreoff likely to start next season in Manchester with Vey, the Monarchs look like they’ve become bigger and better almost overnight.