The Kings' top prospect had been thriving in his first season in the AHL, but the timing of this call-up raises questions.
Since Lombardi stated his intention to leave Toffoli in Manchester at the time of the Simon Gagne trade, speculation is running rampant that Mike Richards was more seriously hurt in the game against Calgary last night than was first thought.
Did Jackman hurt Richards after all?
Richards was shaken up after being surprised by a hard hit by Tim Jackman away from the puck. Jackman's shoulder appeared to connect with Richards' head and upper body, and Richards lay on the ice for a few moments before skating off.
Richards was taken to the quiet room for evaluation, but later returned to play in the third period. The scrappy center does have a concussion history, most recently missing eight games last December. Though he was cleared to play, his scoring suffered after the hit, and it took him a long time to return to form.
Of course, we don't even know for sure that Richards is injured at all. This could be a repeat concussion, another issue entirely, or absolutely nothing.
However, the Kings were content to carry only one spare forward before today. Trading Gagne to Philly weakened their forward depth, and Toffoli was pegged as the obvious first call up in case of an injury in the top six. He is on his entry level contract, and does not have to clear waivers.
What Toffoli brings
If Tyler Toffoli does suit up for the Kings, it will be his NHL debut. Since being taken in the second round in 2010, Toffoli racked up goals in the OHL and the AHL, rising higher on the depth chart each year. His greatest assets are his wicked shot and overall hockey sense. He made great strides in his conditioning, and had been asked to work on his skating and defensive awareness.
For more scouting reports and highlights from Toffoli, you can check out our profile from September here:
He has since scored 28 goals in 55 games during his rookie season in the AHL, earning a spot on the AHL's All Star team. In the NHL equivalencies Robert just ran on all Kings prospects, Toffoli's production was in line with a 20-goal scorer.
You won't want to miss the scoring clips. It's been a while since the Kings had a forward prospect this exciting.
Question for the day: If Richards is indeed out, where would you slot Toffoli?