Tyler Toffoli – the newly acquired right-winger – is very familiar with teammate Tanner Pearson back when they were in the L.A. Kings’ system. They weren’t just linemates at their old club, they were also good friends. In fact, Pearson was one of the groomsmen at Toffoli’s wedding.
Photo Credit: Nhl.com
They didn’t start out as the best of friends. These two used to ply their trade with rival teams in the OHL. In a fierce game between Barrie Colts and Ottawa 67’ almost a decade ago, Pearson slashed Toffoli in the face. And the seed of pure dislike was sown that day.
In an interview after practice at Rogers Arena, Pearson confirmed they didn’t care for each other much. But their relationship improved and blossomed when Toffoli was signed to Los Angeles Kings – Pearson’s club at the time.
The two were top players in their respective teams. In the heated 2011-12 season, Toffoli who Ottawa drafted in 2010 had a total of 52 scores while Pearson drafted by Barrie Colts in 2012 had 37 goals.
Towards the end of the first round in 2012, LA Kings the then winner of the Stanley Cup drafted Toffoli as an over-ager. This saw Toffoli move to New Hampshire to play alongside rival Pearson for Manchester Monarchs, the AHL affiliate of LA Kings.
At Manchester Monarch or Manch as it is also called, the former rivals earned the respect of each other due to the strong work ethic and commitment they each brought to the field. Being on the same team didn’t completely eliminate all rivalry between them.
Pearson recalls there now exists a form of healthy competition on the ice not just between them but all the players to score the most goals for the team. Everyone is putting in their best performance in order to get called up to the NHL. Fortunately, these two who are now friends got called up from Manch to the Kings.
In the spring of 2014, the duo had already gotten the attention of their coach, Darryl Sutter with their tough two-way play. They became regulars in all the playoffs and were part of the key players that helped the Kings win its second Stanley Cup.
Toffoli told the press he was thrilled to join the Vancouver Canucks. It is obvious he’s relishing the challenge the club presents. The Canucks had one of their strategic players out for the season due to injury and they want someone to boost their defense in the playoffs. The club is looking to make a big hit in the wide-open Pacific Division.
Tyler Toffoli (r) with Elias Pettersson. Photo Credit: NICK PROCAYLO / PNG
Toffoli indicated missing his former team, at the same time, he welcomes the chance to be in the playoff and win some games. His new teammates are happy to have him with them knowing he’s a topnotch player. He will be a good replacement for right-winger Brock Boeser who will be out for 8 weeks due to a rib injury.
Canuck’s Bo Horvat remembered playing against Toffoli during his rookie OHL days. Bo said over the years, Toffoli had scored a lot of goals against the Canucks. It will be great to have him scoring for them now and not against them.
5 Interesting facts about Tyler Toffoli
- Toffoli is the first ever to score a hat trick in an outdoor game
He did this when he was with LA Kings and it definitely raised his trade value. He was given the NHL’S Third Star of the week. The Canucks are hoping he would score another hat trick in their match against his former team on Saturday, March 21 at the Staples Center.
- He has scored 13 goals against the Canucks more than any other team in the NHL
Right after the Canucks is the Edmonton Oilers. Toffoli scored nine goals and has 23 points in 28 career games against them while he has 21 points in 28 games against the Canucks.
- He is one of the best in his draft class
Earlier this season, Toffoli hit 500 NHL games. He can also boast of winning a Stanley Cup.
- He is OHL scoring leader
The Ottawa 67’s made him seventh overall in the 2008 OHL Draft. When he was 18 years old and in his third season with Ottawa, he finished first overall in points.
- He won the AHL Rookie of the year for the 2012-13 season
When he was with Manchester Monarchs in 2012-13, he posted 51 points and scored 28 goals as a rookie. This earned him the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award – an award given to the outstanding rookie of the AHL.