Here’s what 22-year-old rookie Tyler Toffoli had to say after scoring two goals and adding an assist in the KIngs’ 5-1 victory Saturday over the Vancouver Canucks:
“It was good. We wanted to have a really solid game. Tonight was was good night. I tried to get open and tried to rip it and (Mike Richards) made two unbelievable passes to me tonight. I think it’s the same as last time (after being called up last season). I’m trying to earn my spot on the team. I’m trying to stay in the lineup. We’ll see how things go. It sucks (being one of the last cuts coming out of training camp). You don’t want to be playing in the American Hockey League. You want to be playing in the NHL. I went down there and it took a little time to adjust to hockey again, I guess. I just started heating up again.”
Here’s the updated version of tonight’s romp by the Kings …
Rookie forwards Linden Vey and Tyler Toffoli are in nearly the same predicament with the Kings. Despite posting some eye-catching statistics with Manchester (N.H.) of the AHL the last few seasons, there simply haven’t been any job openings with the Kings, who have a veteran roster that’s been remarkably stable.
The Kings had a strong Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs connection for Thursday’s game against Buffalo, with 10 former Monarchs in the lineup. The Kings’ AHL alums were: Dustin Brown, Dwight King, Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Jordan Nolan, Tyler Toffoli, Linden Vey, Slava Voynov and Jonathan Quick,
Thanks to the Kings’ crack media relations staff for that statistic.
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.