Eight days. That's how long Tyler Toffoli was in Manchester. Long enough to score a natural hat trick, and apparently, long enough for the Los Angeles Kings to realize that they might need him in their lineup.
On Wednesday, the Kings essentially reversed course on all three of their young forwards. Toffoli is on his way back to Los Angeles, while the recently-promoted Linden Vey and Tanner Pearson are heading right back to the AHL.
Toffoli's demotion was a major point of debate amongst fans and certain number-savvy bloggers, many who didn't see the point of sending down a natural scorer even if he wasn't, you know, scoring. Darryl Sutter's assertion that the demotion was performance-based, and NOT because of an AHL eligibility loophole, didn't help. The change of heart from the Kings is interesting, given that the Kings have scored 11 goals in their last four games (above their season average). Maybe there was something to that AHL loophole after all. Or maybe, the three consecutive losses have prompted the Kings to grab their more proven youngster in advance of two matchups with Anaheim.
Of course, one of Linden Vey or Tanner Pearson was going to have to go down to make this work. It ended up being both, because... look who it is!
Jeff Schultz, the veteran defenseman who was signed during the offseason and promptly placed in Manchester, might finally get to see action with the big club. We went over his signing back in July, but our initial suspicions haven't changed: he's a big guy who doesn't really skate, and he's a defensively defensive defenseman on defense. (Just to drive that point home.) Matt Greene's out of the lineup, and though it seems like putting Schultz in for ANYONE is a huge downgrade, could the Kings' sloppy defensive performance yesterday lead to a lineup change? Unfortunately, all I'm seeing in my head is Andrew Cogliano speeding past a helpless Schultz, and it's not encouraging.
We'll have more on the lineup shuffle tomorrow, once Darryl Sutter decides who he'll ice against the Ducks.