On March 10, the Los Angeles Kings called up their top offensive prospect, Tyler Toffoli. Initially, it was thought that the move was in response to health concerns for Mike Richards, who was shaken up against Calgary after a Tim Jackman hit. But Richards was fine, and Darryl Sutter attributed the move to healthy competition with forwards who aren't putting the puck in the net. This left some doubt about when exactly the Kings' second-round pick in 2010 would get his chance.
Well, wait no longer. Jordan Nolan will be a scratch today, giving Toffoli a chance to make his NHL debut at the age of 20. But he's not just playing fourth-line minutes... he's bumping Dustin Penner.
Sounding like Toffoli will be skating as a right wing opposite Richards with Carter at center.— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) March 16, 2013
Coming into 2013, all signs pointed to a good year for Tyler Toffoli. He put up his second consecutive 100-point season in the OHL (in just 68 games). He was praised in training camp by Dean Lombardi, who compared him to some guy named Luc. And he was named an AHL Eastern Conference All-Star this season. A quick look at his rise over the last few years:
Position: C/RW Age: 20 (b.4/24/1992) Height: 6'0" Weight: 187 Shoots: Right
2nd Round 2010, 47th overall
Breaking into the lineup of the defending Stanley Cup champs might have been seen as out of the question, but the organization has been really impressed by Toffoli and appears to be giving him a look with some of the Kings' forwards struggling to produce. Robert broke down the performance of various prospects earlier this month, and already he projects Toffoli as a potential 20-goal scorer (in a full 82 game season, of course).
Here's a highlight compilation of Toffoli's 2012-2013 from the Manchester Monarchs (awesomely set to Smash Mouth's "All Star", because why not?). And if you want even more goals, here's Toffoli scoring in bunches in the OHL. Good luck, kid!