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Top Kings prospect Toffoli set for NHL debut

by Curtis Zupke

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- There will be a few more televisions in Scarborough, Ontario tuned into the Los Angeles Kings-San Jose Sharks game Saturday night.

That's the hometown of Tyler Toffoli, who is expected to make his NHL debut with the Kings. Toffoli, 20, will play right wing on the second line with Jeff Carter moving to center and Mike Richards on the other wing.

"I'm really excited," Toffoli said. "Obviously, it's my first game. I'm playing with two great players. I'm really excited and I just want to do the best I can and play my game.

"It's obviously a pretty big step coming from [Manchester of the American Hockey League]. It's faster, so a couple of days skating with them has really helped and I feel pretty good right now."

Coach Darryl Sutter, asked what his message is to a young player making his debut, said, "Try not to sit on the bench."

Sutter doesn't adhere to the notion that young players tend to try to do too much and eschewed the keep-it-simple message.

"We all played our first game sometime, right?" he said. "We all … work hard, try and jump on somebody early, try and shoot the puck, try and skate, try and pass it on the stick."

Toffolli was a two-time 100-point scorer with the Ottawa 67's in the Ontario Hockey League and has 48 points in 55 games this season with Manchester. He will see at least one familiar face, Sharks center Logan Couture, a former 67's teammate.

"My rookie year I played with him," Toffoli said. "He's a good guy. When I took warmups [on Thursday at San Jose], we kind of said hi to each other. It will be fun to kind of play against him."

Here is the Kings' projected lineup:

Dustin BrownAnze KopitarJustin Williams

Mike RichardsJeff CarterTyler Toffoli

Dwight KingJarret StollTrevor Lewis

Dustin PennerColin FraserKyle Clifford

Jake MuzzinDrew Doughty

Rob ScuderiSlava Voynov

Keaton EllerbyAlec Martinez

Jonathan Bernier

Jonathan Quick

Scratched: Davis Drewiske, Brad Richardson, Jordan Nolan.

Injured: Matt Greene (back), Willie Mitchell (knee).

NOTES: Bernier was first off the ice. He stopped 13 of 14 shots Thursday when he replaced Jonathan Quick. Dustin Penner took turns on the fourth line and will likely take the spot of Jordan Nolan, who stayed out with the extras.

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