January 14, 2014 3:57 pm

Toffoli assigned; what next?

Tyler Toffoli was assigned to the Manchester Monarchs today. Toffoli, who broke out of the gates with eight goals and 15 points in the first 18 games following his November 2 recall, hit a dry spell with only one goal and one assist over his last 15 games. His ice time was on the decline, as three of his five sub-10 minutes outings have come over the past two weeks.

Despite Toffoli’s recent drought, this is an interesting move. The 21-year-old’s advanced metrics indicate that he has been a useful member on Los Angeles’ third line, and similar to the team’s recent play, has been contributing positively to the team’s attack despite the recent inability to find the net with great frequency. His Corsi rating was representative of a player who drives play in the right direction. With Toffoli on the ice in five-on-five situations, the Kings generated 373 of 633 total shot attempts at net, and his 58.9% Corsi for percentage (the team’s total percentage of shot attempts when a particular player is on the ice) ranks fourth amongst the team’s forwards.

And then there’s the stone cold reality. Though Toffoli graded well in advanced metrics, he wasn’t scoring with any regularity. His role on the team is to provide offense, so that would be a problem. Obviously, this issue doesn’t lie solely on Toffoli as the team’s secondary scoring has dried up. The team’s last goal scored by a forward outside of the top two lines was Toffoli’s second period goal on Antti Niemi in a 4-1 win over San Jose on December 19. But in watching Toffoli since the lines had been reshuffled during the last road trip, there wasn’t any sustained chemistry that had developed Mike Richards and Matt Frattin despite some encouraging flashes that had occurred during the tail end of the last road trip and the beginning of the most recent home stand.

So, why send him down? This is likely a question that will be answered in the coming days, as it appears as though there’s a good chance several moves may follow. One possibility is that a roster space has been opened in advance of a trade. Speculation surrounding such a move has flourished in social media outlets today, and having watched the Kings’ scoring woes over the last homestand – and having previously written briefly about the possibility of an impending move – a hypothetical trade for offensive reinforcement would not come as an enormous surprise. With Tuesday’s roster move, the Kings have 1.796 million dollars of cap space, courtesy of capgeek.com.

As learned through a reliable source, Matt Greene is being evaluated for a concussion after he was unable to return to last night’s game following a second period fight with Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa. Per Lisa Dillman of the LA Times, Greene will not accompany the team on the upcoming four-game trip through St. Louis, Detroit, Boston and Columbus. That means that the Kings’ blue line has been reduced to six healthy skaters, and the team could choose to add another defenseman to the active roster during the road trip.

Whichever direction the team gravitates towards, one does have the feeling that there are additional moves in the works.

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