As with last year, the #1 spot in these rankings was a foregone conclusion. However, while the #2 spot was unanimous last season, it was a bit of a toss-up this season. When the results came in, a new runner-up emerged, and as with our three earlier entries, we're going to see if he's living up to his billing.
(As mentioned in the first post this week, Slava Voynov finished #3 in the voting.)
|Rank||Player||DOB||Nationality||Draft||Vote Total||Last Year|
||12/8/1989||CAN||2 (1st), 2008||350||
You already know all about Tyler Toffoli, so I'll limit the background to a quick thought experiment. Here's a list of the eleven most productive forwards from the 2010 NHL Draft. Why eleven? To make sure Tyler Toffoli makes the chart, of course!
Class: Top 11 Scorers
|PLAYER||TEAM||CAREER GAMES||GOALS||ASSISTS||POINTS||2014-15 GAMES||GOALS||ASSISTS||POINTS|
|Vladimir Tarasenko||St. Louis||142||51||52||103||40||22||19||41|
|Jaden Schwartz||St. Louis||165||47||55||102||33||13||17||30|
|Tyler Toffoli||Los Angeles||112||26||34||60||40||12||14||26|
There was a very clear "top four" entering the season, and Vladimir Tarasenko has bullied his way into that top tier of 2010-drafted forwards. Depending on how you feel about Jaden Schwartz, there's either an apparent top five or top six right now. Tyler Toffoli doesn't make that list yet. However, if you're only looking at this season, Toffoli is making a strong case to be mentioned right after those guys.
OH, and I forgot one thing: aside from Brendan Gallagher (who somehow slipped to Round 5 thanks to his small size), Toffoli's the only one who was picked outside the first round.
Anyway, this season. Now that you've seen a leaguewide comparison, it's a good time to recall that Tyler Toffoli is currently the team leader in even-strength points, and far and away the league leader in even-strength points per 60 minutes. His possession game is strong; he's sixth on the team in Corsi For % despite starting a surprisingly high percentage of his shifts outside the offensive zone. (Among forwards, only Dwight King and Dustin Brown are starting in their own zone more often.) The hot start with That 70's Line provided the buzz, but his recent play has provided the stability beneath that. Here's his rolling 10-game Corsi For% over the course of the season:
The other important rank? Seventh: Toffoli's rank, among forwards, in ice time per game. If you look only at even strength that drops to eleventh. That even strength ice time (eleven minutes per game) is nearly identical to last season, though he's seeing about a minute more overall due to his time on the PK unit. The next step in Toffoli's development is for him to start seeing that additional ice time in normal game situations, and it's already begun; the three highest even-strength ice times of Toffoli's season came on December 27, December 30, and January 1.
Last season there were mild trade rumors surrounding Toffoli, spurred by rumors that Toffoli was... (GASP)... not untouchable. Obviously, almost any player is available for the right price unless it's a generational-type player, and given that Toffoli's a restricted free agent, we can't rule anything out. But I think we've moved beyond that rumors stage with Tyler Toffoli. Toffoli's scoring prowess is apparent, his possession game is steady, his versatility is emerging, and he's still just 22 years old, with barely 100 games under his belt. And yet, maybe the strongest argument that Toffoli ain't going anywhere is: how many current Kings can do this?
Share your Toffoli thoughts in the comments. The #1 choice will be VERY DRAMATICALLY revealed tomorrow.