Rookie Tyler Toffoli recorded an assist Saturday in his first game since he was recalled from the minor leagues. Fellow forward Linden Vey did not dress for the Kings’ loss to the Nashville Predators. Toffoli played 19 minutes, 23 seconds Saturday, which is a fair amount of ice time. Vey didn’t play because, as Kings coach Darryl Sutter explained Tuesday, the 22-year-old forwards are both here to play regular shifts or sit, watch and learn.
“I’m not going to play one of those guys four or five minutes,” Sutter said. “They’re going to be here, they’re going to play or they’re going to watch and learn. Like we did with Tyler last year. We’re not going to dress those kids and put them on the bench for (all but) four or five minutes. They’re going to play, and they’re going to play in situations where they can use their ability.”
Sutter also sought to explain why it’s unlikely fans will see Toffoli, Vey and Tanner Pearson play on a line together with the Kings. Those three have formed the top line for the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the American Hockey League.
“Why don’t you put them together?” Sutter said, repeating an oft-heard question. “They’re all different. They might play for three different teams before they’re all through. It’s not like they’re tied together.”
The Kings on Saturday placed forward Jeff Carter on injured reserve (retroactive to Wednesday) because of a lower-body injury. They also announced they lost defenseman Keaton Ellerby to the Winnipeg Jets, who claimed him off waivers. The Kings recalled forwards Tyler Toffoli and Linden Vey from their ECHL affiliate in Ontario, where they stashed them Friday. Toffoli and Vey participated in the Kings’ morning skate in advance of Saturday’s home game against Nashville.
So, it turns out Tanner Pearson, Linden Vey and Tyler Toffoli will play together again this season. The Kings loaned them to Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League on Sunday. Those three formed the Monarchs’ top line last season, before Toffoli was recalled by the Kings late in the lockout-shortened NHL season. They played together at times during training camp with the Kings and in exhibitions. But there was simply no room for them on the Kings’ roster, which had to be trimmed to 23 by Monday.
The Kings’ roster stood at 31 names as of Wednesday afternoon, and there aren’t likely to be any surprises when they take the ice for their season-opening game Oct. 3 against the Minnesota Wild at St. Paul, Minn. In fact, the Kings’ lineup for Tuesday’s 2-1 exhibition victory over the visiting Ducks was about what you might expect to see next week.
You never know with Kings coach Darryl Sutter, who might change his mind at the last minute, but the lineup for Friday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver could look a little something like this:
Goaltenders: Martin Jones, Ben Scrivens, J.F. Berube.
Forwards: Andy Andreoff, Marc-Andre Cliche, Kyle Clifford, Colin Fraser, Dwight King, Brandon Kozun, Jordan Nolan, Tanner Pearson, Nick Shore, Tyler Toffoli, Linden Vey, Justin Williams.
Defenseman: Andrew Bodnarchuk, Keaton Ellerby, Alec Martinez, Colin Miller, Willie Mitchell, Jake Muzzin, Jeff Schultz, Slava Voynov.
Tyler Toffoli played a good deal last season with Tanner Pearson and Linden Vey while they were with the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the American Hockey League. They were broken up only after Toffoli was summoned to Los Angeles to join the Kings.
What to watch as the Kings began training camp Thursday:
Is there any room for a rookie to make his mark? It doesn’t appear coach Darryl Sutter has any job openings available as camp opens, but that doesn’t mean youngsters like Tyler Toffoli, Linden Vey and Tanner Pearson can’t make a lasting impression this month. Toffoli, in particular, could secure a spot if Sutter and the organization decide to have the forward shift from the right wing to the left. The Kings didn’t have depth on the left side and then lost Dustin Penner to the Ducks in free agency. Toffoli, who is listed on the roster as a center, played the right side when he was called up from the minors last season. He had two goals and five points in 10 regular-season games, showing a knack for being in the right spot at the right time. Will it happen for him and the others during camp? Stay tuned.
The Kings will host their annual off-season development camp next week at their training facility in El Segundo. Their press release didn’t have exact dates or times of the workouts, but they did invite reporters to attend Wednesday’s session and to interview players at approximately 4:30 p.m. No word on whether the sessions are open to the public.
Here’s the list of invited players, which includes several recognizable names:
Andy Andreoff – third round (80th overall) in 2011
Justin Auger – fourth round (103rd overall) in 2013
Jonny Brodzinski – fifth round (148th overall) in 2013
Nic Dowd – seventh round (198th overall) in 2009
Tomas Hyka – sixth round (171st overall) in 2012
Maxim Kitsyn – sixth round (158th overall) in 2010
Dominik Kubalik – seventh round (191st overall) in 2013
Joel Lowry – fifth round (140th overall) in 2011
Cameron Maclise – camp invitee
Michael Mersch – fourth round (110th overall) in 2011
Brian O’Neill – signed as a free agent March 15, 2012
Tanner Pearson – first round (30th overall) in 2012
Scott Sabourin – camp invitee
Nick Shore – third round (82nd overall) in 2011
Tyler Toffoli – second round (47th overall) in 2010
Jordan Weal – third round (70th overall) in 2010
Valentine Zykov – second round (37th overall) in 2013
Nick Ebert – seventh round (211th overall) in 2012
Derek Forbort – first round (15th overall) in 2010
Kevin Gravel – fifth round (148th overall) in 2010
Paul LaDue – sixth round (181st overall) in 2012
Zachary Leslie – sixth round (178th overall) in 2013
Kurtis MacDermid – signed as a free agent Sept. 12, 2012
Colin Miller – fifth round (151st overall) in 2012
Alex Roach – signed as a free agent Sept. 26, 2011
Patrik Bartosak – fifth round (146th overall) in 2013
Jean-Francois Berube – fourth round (95th overall) in 2009
Alex Fotinos – camp invitee
Matthias Niederberger – camp invitee
The Kings don’t have a first-round pick in Sunday’s NHL Entry Draft, having sent the selection to the Columbus Blue Jackets to complete the trade for Jeff Carter on Feb. 23, 2012. The Kings’ highest pick Sunday will be late in the second round (57th overall). Their history of second-round picks was pretty shabby in their early days. Dean Kennedy (1981), anyone? But it has picked up considerably in recent years.
Here’s a look at some of the Kings’ better second-round selections in the 2000s:
Here’s the second installment of Kings coach Darryl Sutter’s post-season meeting with reporters, two days after the team was eliminated from the Western Conference finals by the Chicago Blackhawks:
Question: It seems this was a tougher coaching job for you this year because you didn’t have the consistency of the lineup, you started out without Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene …
Answer: “I think if we go down the league, every coach will say that through a 48-game schedule. It’s something I’ve done before, so you have some familiarity with it. Whether it helps or not, I don’t know. But at least you’re familiar with it. Was it tougher? Sure, it was tougher, because … Our players were awesome. There was no hangover. There was only positives taken from it. Obviously, the only negative from a short summer last year was the guys didn’t start the year. Greene, Mitchell, (Anze) Kopitar and, quite honestly, Jonathan (Quick) until probably January or February.”