|Toffoli at Kings camp (photo: CIKIRI)|
For Tyler Toffoli, running into Ethan Moreau this summer has eventually brought the two to an unexpected place - not only teammates, but now linemates.
"When I was here training in the summer, he was here, just skating around," explained Toffoli. "So, I got to talk with him a bit back then while he was looking for a place to play. He's a great guy and just a class act all the way."
Tonight in Phoenix, the grizzled vet and the wide-eyed kid will play wing on a line centered by Trevor Lewis.
When Toffoli thinks back to his first encounter with Moreau, he was immediately impressed with the former Oilers captain.
"With LA giving him the opportunity to play here, I'm sure he'll do great because he's a great player. He's a big leader, who's been around for so many years. So, I'm really excited to get the opportunity to play with Ethan and Trevor Lewis."
Sunday evening, Kings coach Terry Murray shared many positive observations about the little things Toffoli has been doing in camp so far. For now, Toffoli says he's trying to keep his head down and his eye on the prize.
"I'm just here trying to work as hard as I can. I've come a long way since last year. I'm just really excited to be playing in my first exhibition game - when last year, I was nowhere near close. So, I'm excited and hopefully I can capitalize on my opportunity and stick around here for a little bit."
Of course, it didn't really matter if he was selected to play for the 'home' Kings or the 'road' Kings in tonight's split-squad series. Toffoli just wants to be in the mix.
"For me personally, my emotions are going to be going and I'm going to be so excited to play, I don't really think it maters where I'm playing," he said.
It will matter on Sunday though. He's hoping to be at Staples Center for the Kings next exhibition game against the Anaheim Ducks.
The next step towards that goal will take place in Arizona later tonight.
Toffoli was selected by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft. He currently sits third overall in the MayorsManor rankings of the Kings top ten prospects. Last season, he scored 57 goals - tops in junior hockey - and won the OHL scoring title.
Full rosters for split-squad games tonight
Coach Terry Murray on the camp MVP (so far) - notes on Toffoli
Ethan Moreau happier to be with the Kings than playing them
Coach Murray convinced about Loktionov, unsure about Lewis
Matt Greene calls out Dustin Penner and Ethan Moreau