21 - Tyler Toffoli & Tanner Pearson are 21.
As part of my ongoing penance for booing Tanner Pearson at his drafting, and my ongoing generally extreme love for Tyler Toffoli, I wanted to highlight the youngsters today.
Due in part to Dustin Brown's lack of production and also to a general obsession with line shuffling, Darry Sutter has begun playing both Pearson and Toffoli in the top six, providing them with much better opportunities to contribute. The two are now winging a second line centred by Jeff Carter, and have rewarded Sutter's faith with pretty strong performances. While both are still playing relatively limited minutes (Pearson's ATOI is just past 10 minutes, and Toffoli's is not quite 13 minutes), they have been very solid in that time, with occasional exceptional moments.
For example, Toffoli's pass to Gaborik on his goal last night was an absolute delight:
And Tanner Pearson broke out some slick moves against the Panthers:
Nick has touched on Pearson's recent success, statistically speaking, and is preparing a fancystats update from the past week, so if you want "proof" and "evidence", be sure to check out that post. I'm here to talk about feelings. Specifically, I feel that it is very heartening that these two young wingers - a position where the Kings' depth has certainly been lacking the past few seasons - are already beginning to find their stride at the NHL level. When I was 21, I wore pyjamas 95 per cent of the time and drank a lot of vodka on my kitchen floor, so yeah, I'm pretty impressed. Feel free to discuss your Pearson/Toffoli feelings below. Know that if you use the phrase "the kids are alright", I will judge you harshly and permanently.