Los Angeles Kings right wing Tyler Toffoli said he expects to be recovered from surgery on his left knee in time for the start of training camp in September.
Toffoli signed a three-year, $13.8 million contract Wednesday, which has an average annual value of $4.6 million. He had surgery on his knee in April.
"It's getting better," Toffoli said during a conference call Thursday. "Doing my therapy and all that stuff. Going in there, working on it and slowly getting it stronger and back to normal."
The injury limited Toffoli, 25, to 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists) in 63 games last season, a substantial drop from his 31-goal performance in 2015-16. He said he never fully recovered from the knee injury, which he sustained Dec. 20. He missed 19 games, returning Feb. 4, but said he never felt fully healthy.
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The Kings called the surgical procedure Toffoli had minor, but it caused some major frustration for him.
"When you get hurt it's one of those things," he said. "Personally I've never gone through an injury like that in general, with anything. I wanted to come back and do the best that I could, but at the end of the day it all kind of sat down on me. I was getting pretty frustrated with it. ...
"It was just a frustrating season for us. Things just didn't go my way and it didn't go the right way for a lot of the guys."
The Kings missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in three seasons, and general manager Dean Lombardi and coach Darryl Sutter were fired April 10. Assistant GM Rob Blake replaced Lombardi, and assistant John Stevens was named coach April 23.
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"I think we're all ready to put [this season] behind us and … just grow and be ready to come back next season," Toffoli said. "Everybody is super excited to get back to work, and when I talked to [Blake and Stevens] about it, we're all really excited about it."
Toffoli could have become a restricted free agent July 1 but said he was happy to get have his contract taken care of.
"I don't think anybody really wanted to wait this out, both sides, kind of get this done and then just continue on with the rest of everything else that's going on around here," he said. "For myself, I was very happy to finish this, and like I said, get ready and get back to work and getting my knee back to 100 percent and not be worried about contract status."
Blake said the new contract was good for each side.
"On his end it gives him a little security for a few years, but he also comes back around in his prime," he said. "I believe he's capable of 25-plus goals, if he's healthy, every year. He could push it to the 30 [goal] mark. He's done it once before, not out of the normal for him. This gives him some stability to get back to that mark. It's the first time he's had to deal with an injury. I don't think he's dealt with that any time in his career."
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Blake said the next step for Toffoli, who will be entering his sixth season in 2017-18, is take on more of a leadership role.
"There's stages of your career and you start staying in the same place a little longer," Blake said. "Then you start staying there year-round.
"You go in the gym today and see Jeff Carter, [Alec] Martinez and Jonathan Quick. All these guys are there and [Toffoli] is in that group. He's matured within the last few years to the level all of us hoped he would get to. He's going to push that off-ice program as much as these other guys."