Soon the entire hockey world will know of Tyler Toffoli.
Longtime MayorsManor readers have already come to know the 20-year old Toronto native – ever since the Kings selected him in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft. He’s appeared here on a regular basis, taking along on his journey from 57 goals in the OHL, to the heart breaking news that he wouldn’t make Tean Canada for the World Junior Championships (not once, but twice!), from being mentored by the legendary Brain Kilrea in Ottawa to becoming a first-year pro this season.
Along the way, we’ve been introduced to a humble sniper who knows how to fill the net as easily as he can laugh at himself while talking about his yearning to get a tan anytime he’s in Los Angeles.
“It’s too cold for that right now,” he said after the Kings finished up practice today.
Indeed it is, which is something new for Toffoli. He’s used to being here in July for Development Camp or the fall for Rookie Camp. This is the first time he’s seen LA in January. It’s not likely to be the last though.
Toffoli left Manchester having already scored 18 goals this season, twice as many as any of his teammates.
Still, he knew it would be a longshot to make the Kings roster this season. But it didn’t stop him from trying.
“There are so many guys here, I didn’t really expect to make it,” said the young right wing. “I definitely wanted to. But, I’ll just go back to Manch and just keep working hard and playing the way I have been all year.”
Nothing ever seems to phase him.
He just pushes forward despite any obstacles thrown in front of him or what people say about him, including the knock that he can’t skate very well.
“I don’t think (those people) really realize the type of player I am,” Toffoli explained. “I’m not going to be the first guy down on the forecheck and wearing guys out. I’m going to be shooting the puck and doing my best to score goals. I think I’ve proved a lot of people wrong already with what I’ve been doing in the American League and hopefully I can do it in the NHL soon.”
Oh he will, that’s a given. Toffoli is one of the elite prospects in the Kings organization at the moment and the scouts who had him pegged as a first rounder back in his draft year sure look like the smart ones now.
With Manchester he’s playing on a line featuring two of the Kings other future top-6 forwards, center Linden Vey and left wing Tanner Pearson. But today, there was a small sneak peek of what’s likely to come sooner rather than later – Toffoli was put on a line with Anze Kopitar at practice.
“Yeah, he’s obviously a great player and it was really exciting,” Toffoli told MayorsManor. “A little nervous, but it was pretty cool.”
Wait, he was nervous or you were nervous?
“I don’t think he was too nervous,” Toffoli said with his usual quiet laugh.
After practice it was officially announced that Toffoli would be returning to Manchester immediately, where he’ll be reunited with his usual linemates.
“Vey is a great player,” Toffoli proudly boasted when we asked about his regular center. “It’s his second year, so he knows what it’s like, he knows the grind of the season. He’s been playing great and giving me the right opportunity to score goals too. Pears has also been working hard and our chemistry together has been really good.”
You know what else is pretty good right now? Toffoli’s hair.
“I might trim it up,” he said, again with a little bit of a laugh. “We’ll see, I’m liking the flow right now. It’s winter so you’ve got to keep the hair long.”
Hey, whatever he’s doing, it’s clearly working.
While en route back to Manchester late this afternoon word came down that Toffoli has been selected to represent the Monarchs at the AHL All Star Game at the end of this month.
It’s probably going to be his first and only appearance at the annual mid-season game because he’s not expected to be in the AHL much longer.
No, Toffoli has NHL written all over him.
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