There was a least a mild level of surprise when Tyler Toffoli was asked to come to Los Angeles for training camp this week. Not that he hasn’t earned it, but more because it was just last Thursday when GM Dean Lombardi said the Kings were looking to have 15 forwards in camp. With that many guys already on the roster it didn’t seem to leave much room for any names to be added.
Now, if this were a normal training camp, held in September, of course – dozens of prospects would be here, like they are every year. However, because things are just starting in January (with junior leagues and the AHL in the middle of playing regular season games) and there’s only a week of practices before the Kings play their first game on Saturday, there just isn’t much time or opportunity to evaluate players this time around.
Perhaps things changed 24 hours after Lombardi gave us the plans for camp though. On Friday, Toffoli netted two more goals for Manchester, pushing his season total to 18 – twice as many to that of any other Monarchs player. Double.
Yet it was more likely due to Anze Kopitar’s knee injury, as they needed to balance out the lines with an extra forward.
Regardless, there’s no denying Toffoli is a special player. Yet, even with back-to-back 50-goal seasons in the OHL, some people still want to talk about his skating. Big deal. So, he won’t ever win the fastest skater competition at the NHL All-Star Game. Neither did Luc Robitaille and he’s in the Hall of Fame.
This game is about scoring goals and Toffoli just has a nose for the net.
“He’s an impressive young player,” began Kings coach Darryl Sutter when we asked about Toffoli’s performance through the first half of camp. “He has all the attributes to be a good NHL player. He has great instincts, and the more you do game situations you see where he’s going to play at some point. He’s an impressive young player. The kid is a first-year pro and he has 18 goals in the American League. He’s certainly not out of place here…He’s going to be a really good player. He’s a good player now.”
Sutter went on to suggest that he watched plenty of tape on Toffoli during the lockout. However, when pressed for just how much, he simply said – “You don’t need my diary.”
At just 20 years old and with a stacked Kings roster in front of him, it’s highly unlikely Toffoli will stay with the Kings coming out of camp on Saturday. However, it’s plausible that he gets a call-up at some point later this season.
To get to know a little more about Toffoli and his journey to join the Kings, take a listen to his most recent visit to the MayorsManor show (recorded as the AHL season was about to start)…
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If you missed any of our other shows during the lockout – featuring guests like Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty, Matt Greene, Dustin Penner and Kevin Westgarth – click here now.
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