While the Los Angeles Kings did add Ilya Kovalchuk to their roster and have a healthy dose of veterans around, one key for the Kings will be whether the team can get Tyler Toffoli to show off more of his offensive prowess. The 26-year-old rebounded from a 13-goal season in 2016-17 to post a 24-goal season, but that’s still a far cry from the 31-goal season back in 2015-16 when he was considered one of the upcoming goal scorers in the league.
The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman (subscription required) writes that Toffoli feels that the team and especially coach John Stevens feel that it’s time for him to take that next step in his development.
“He obviously wants me to score more goals,” Toffoli said. “He said I didn’t have a bad season. Scoring 24 goals is not bad. He thinks that’s just something I need to focus on, bearing down on opportunities and not worrying about having the ups and downs.”
Many feel that Toffoli struggled over the last couple of years due to the lack of having Milan Lucic in 2016-17 as well as a healthy Jeff Carter playing alongside him last season. However, consistency has also been a problem as he tallied 11 goals in the first two months of the season and then struggled at different times to put numbers up, including one goal in January and just three goals in the Kings’ final 18 games, including going scoreless in the playoffs.
- The Athletic’s Scott Kruikshank (subscription required) looks into the fitness level of Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano. The team’s top defender just turned 34 and remains in the best shape of his career. Giordano’s conditioning is one of the main reasons for his success. He has ranked first, first, first and second (last year to Michael Frolik) over the last four camps, despite his age. “I want to keep my speed as I get older,” Giordano says. “So I do a lot of strengthening of my hips and groins, working on some ankle-mobility stuff. Little things to keep my skating up to par. Speed and conditioning are the two things I like to focus on the most. But you need that strength out there, too.”
- Jason Brough of The Athletic (subscription required) wonders who will win the final spot on the Vancouver Canucks first line with Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat. The scribe says the team has three candidates in mind for that final spot, including veteran Sven Baertschi as well as Brendan Leipsic and Nikolay Goldobin. While Baertschi might sound like a logical candidate as he got some time with them last season, Brough wonders whether the team is giving every opportunity to Goldobin or Leipsic to seize the spot, which would allow Baertschi to play on the second line. The team has been hoping Goldobin, in particular, is capable of breaking out this season. He tallied eight goals in 38 games last season.
- The Vancouver Canucks got a flash of their upcoming future when top prospects Elias Pettersson and Jonathan Dahlen combined for three goals, three assists in Friday’s first game of the Young Stars Classic, according to Ed Willes of the Vancouver Sun. The two Swedes showed a chemistry together that suggests they could play together for a long time. Pettersson potted two goals, while Dahlen added a third. The two played together for parts of three years in the Timra system.