There are plenty of story-lines heading into this year’s training camp. Because of the 25 rostered players and several rookies possibly ready to make the jump, there will be plenty of focus on the battle for roster spots both on offense and defense.
What could possibly get the second most attention in September might be Tyler Toffoli and his role going into the 2013-2014 season.
Toffoli got a brief introduction to the NHL last season when he was called up and played in ten games of the regular season. Over the course of those ten games Toffoli scored two goals and recorded five points. Toffoli’s success continued into the playoffs where he notched two goals and four helpers in 12 games.
It is clear that Toffoli has a bright offensive future. He found the back of the net 28 times in 58 games with the Monarchs last season.
When with the Kings, Toffoli played on a line with Jeff Carter and Dustin Penner and other times with Carter and Mike Richards. Then there were games where he was placed in the bottom six.
So where should Toffoli play next season? Should last year’s AHL Rookie of the Year get top six or bottom six ice time?
Of course a lot of this depends on whether or not Toffoli will stay on the right-wing or will transition to the left side by the start of the next season. If Toffoli does make the switch to left-wing he would probably automatically move into one of the top two spots.
However, Dean Lombardi has mentioned that he is not against giving Toffoli time in the bottom six and waiting for him to develop into a more complete player. Here is what Lombardi had to say.
“I always heard the story of Ron Caron talking about Doug Gilmour, how he broke in as a checking forward and lo and behold he became a star in the League, a complete player,” Lombardi told NHL.com. “That’s the way in an ideal world that you would break in your young players.”
So what do you think? Do you think Toffoli should be a second maybe first line player in his first full season in the NHL? Or should Toffoli be placed in the bottom six and given tim to develop and round out his game?