In many observers’ eyes, Tyler Toffoli is the Kings’ top prospect. When word of the forward’s call-up surfaced Sunday morning, it was the type of breaking news that fell in the “put-plans-on-hold-and-carve-out-an-hour-or-two-of-time-to-cover-this” level of importance. Naturally, there was interest amongst Kings fans and those who cover the Kings daily over the first-year pro whose 28-goal total was six more than any other American Hockey League rookie.
After three days of fielding questions over Toffoli, Darryl Sutter firmly clarified Toffoli’s status and the rationale behind his call-up.
Sutter, on the “fascination” Kings fans have with Tyler Toffoli:
“He’s a 20 year old. What do you mean, ‘the fascination’?”
Sutter, on Toffoli’s 28 AHL goals and his current status:
“The American League is the second-best league in the world. This is his first year out of major junior hockey. He was having a good year. We have a roster spot while we’re playing 10 games in 14 days, or whatever, and if we need a player, it’s too difficult to get a player from [Manchester]. It would be totally useless for our organization to fly a guy from Manchester to San Jose today to play tomorrow. It’s hurting the player. So I’d rather have the player available here. I don’t know if he’s going to play one minute, or if he’s going to have two practices. I couldn’t tell you that. He didn’t take somebody’s spot. He’ll have to earn it at some time. So the ‘fascination’ – there is no fascination. He’s 20 years old. He’s got lots to learn. I remember being in his shoes, too.”
Sutter, on Toffoli getting good coaching:
“He gets it there, too. He gets it all there. But it’s a different level, right? He hasn’t experienced it, right? So it’s no different than when we had Campbell up here. We had room…It’s the very same. So I didn’t hear anybody talk about the ‘fascination’ then. Quite honest, I’m not going to answer any more questions about Tyler Toffoli, because he’s the 14th forward on our team.”