Tyler Toffoli, welcome to the NHL. On Saturday March 16, highly touted Los Angeles Kings' 20 year old rookie forward Tyler Toffoli finally made his much-anticipated NHL debut, in a game against the San Jose Sharks. He was drafted by the Kings in the second round (47th overall) of the 2010 entry draft. In his debut game, he skated regular shifts on the Kings' second line with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. If this game was any indication, his future looks bright.
Even better, the Kings trounced San Jose, 5-2 .
The 6'1", 187 lb youngster from Scarborough, Ontario registered 13:20 of ice time, had one shot on goal, and also blocked one shot. He did not have any points, but was in position to score on a few different occasions.
In his postgame interview, he admitted being a little nervous - "I should have buried at least two. Jitters kind of got me a bit. I was gripping the stick a little tight, but hopefully next game I can bear down."
That point of view was shared by Kings' Head coach Darryl Sutter - "I think he passed up a lot of shots that he could have taken. He probably had three or four really good opportunities that he could have shot, but he was probably being respectful."
Sutter went on to say, "He's a goal scorer, but he's a guy who obviously knows the game because he's a very good penalty killer."
Only time will tell if Toffoli is ready to stay in the lineup full time, or if he will go back down for more seasoning.
It will not get any easier for the youngster during the upcoming week. The Kings will host the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday and Tuesday night. They will then welcome in the Dallas Stars on Thursday, before finishing out the homestand with a game against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday afternoon.
The varying styles of the three teams should give a good account of Toffoli's skills at the NHL level, and allow for a good evaluation.
The Kings currently have a record of 15-10-2 (second place in Pacific division, sixth place in the Western conference).
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