Hextall on MayorsManor rankings – talks Kings’ number one prospect

The LA Kings’ 2013 midseason prospect rankings went up yesterday and earlier today we posted feedback from VP and Assistant GM Ron Hextall regarding two of the defensemen on the list.

Now, he rejoins us to talk about the top-rated prospect overall, forward Tyler Toffoli.

We’ll begin with a general overview of the 20-year old’s first season as a pro, where he recently participated in the AHL All-Star Game.

“He’s really adapted quickly to the American League level,” began Hextall. “It’s been almost a seamless transition from junior to the American League. His instincts as a player – his offensive instincts – are off the charts. He knows where to be, he knows when to arrive there. He also makes plays with the puck, he’s not just a shooter. He has a deft scoring touch. And again, knows how to get to the scoring areas and arrive at the right time. He also sees the ice very well and makes a lot of plays.”

Some critics have labeled him a poor skater. Meanwhile, the points just keep piling up. As somebody who watches him regularly, what’s your take on that point?

“Again, you can’t teach instincts,” Hextall remarked. “If you look at Tyler’s game and you want to nitpick, it’s probably one of the things you’d say, ‘Okay, he’s not a great skater.’ You can look at the fact that he’s not an outstanding skater, but the guy gets to the scoring areas at the right time. That’s a hockey player. You can’t teach that. Those are instincts that you’re born with and you develop them as you go along. But, you can only improve hockey sense so much.”

Excluding Andrei Loktionov, since he’s already been called up several times, is Toffoli the most NHL ready forward in the Kings organization right now?

“Tyler has some things to work on. For any offensive player, I think the defensive part of the game is such an important part in this day in age. So, he can get a little better defensively. Probably a little better on the wall. So, offensively, I’d say yes, Tyler’s ready or close to being read – the most ready guy in Manchester. But, I think if you look at the overall package, there’s still some things that he needs to improve on.”

If you haven’t read the Top 10 Prospects article yet, click here for full analysis and updates on the best talent currently in the Kings’ pipeline.

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About John Hoven

John Hoven is a member of the of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and co-hosts Kings of the Podcast. He is also the founder and editor of MayorsManor.com, which has been named Best Sports Blog in Los Angeles by LA Weekly and Hockey Blog of the Year by Yahoo Sports. Click "ABOUT OUR TEAM" above for a full bio.

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