Though the lines that existed last season won’t necessarily be utilized once again in 2013-14, it does appear that there is a left wing vacancy on the Mike Richards-Jeff Carter line with Dustin Penner’s departure.
Darryl Sutter had previously alluded to Tyler Toffoli, a 21-year-old right-handed shooter who plays primarily on the right side, making an eventual shift towards the left wing, saying “He’s going to have to be a more versatile player in terms of position-wise,” on April 12.
Though he’s likely to see the majority of his time on the right side for rookie camp games against Anaheim on Saturday and Monday – he was reunited with Manchester linemates Tanner Pearson and Linden Vey – many of the topics presented to him at Toyota Sports Center on Friday centered around the potential position switch. Though it is a question that bears consideration, earning a regular spot on the team appears to be his primary concern.
On whether he felt he had developed chemistry with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter:
Yeah. They’re easy guys to play with. They’re all-stars in the league, and if I get the chance to play left wing, I’m going to do whatever I can to stay on the line and just play my best.
On the last time he had played left wing for an extended stretch:
I played it a couple of times in junior, and I played a couple of games here. But I don’t really see a huge difference. You’ve just got to take pucks on your backhand and just be strong on your stick, so we’ll see what happens at camp.
On his ability to battle along the boards and dig pucks loose:
I’ve been working really hard, and that’s something that Darryl and Dean really focus on, so I really try and be good at that. That’s something that I really take pride in my game now.
On whether he has set any goals for the upcoming season:
I just want to make the team. I want to be here full-time and earn my spot on the team.
On whether he prepared any differently during the off-season:
I think I took more reps on the left side, obviously. Just working on my pivoting both ways, and just being quicker. That’s something people think that I’m not very good at, and I’ve been working hard at it, and I think I have taken a real big step this year.
On encouragement from Darryl Sutter last year:
I think when I left at the end of the year, he really wanted me to just work hard and get stronger, and obviously in my skating, but in the gym and just be a pro, and I think I really took a huge step. I was here for a month working out, putting in a lot of time and effort, so I’m really looking forward for the season to start, and I want to make the team.
On how he would characterize the past year:
Oh, it was a great season. It was a really good season for myself and for a lot of other guys, but I think you’ve got to put that in the past. It’s a new season, and you’ve got to be better and just pretty much forget about what happened last year.