26-Year-Old Goalie – Montreal Canadiens
Dustin Tokarski Contract Information:
Signed a two-year extension with the Canadiens in April of 2014.
Tokarski was reassigned to AHL St. John's on Thursday.
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Dustin Tokarski: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Tokarski's year began benignly enough as the starting goalie for the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League, but finished in the intensity of the NHL playoffs. He wasn't just wearing a baseball cap at the end of the bench - he started five games for Montreal after Carey Price was knocked out in the first game of the Eastern Conference finals. Tokarski held his own, as he always seems to do no matter where he plays. His short stature leads to questions about his long-term potnetial as a full-time starter, but he has performed adequately at every stop. Peter Budaj is around for another season, so we expect to see Tokarski back ar Hamilton this coming season.
Tokarski split time between the Tampa Bay and Montreal organizations, finishing up the season with the Canadians' affiliate in the AHL, the Hamilton Bulldogs. As goalies get bigger and bigger, Tokarski's 5-11 frame stands out. Despite his small stature, Tokarski has a big-game reputation and has won everywhere he's played. He's been the main backstop on Memorial Cup and Calder Cup champs. After coming over from Tampa Bay, Tokarski was stellar in 15 games for the last-place Bulldogs. The Canadiens are well aware that goaltending is a weakness organizationally. By adding Tokarski and drafting Zachary Fucale, Montreal has pieces in place for life after Carey Price.
Tokarski remains the supreme big-game goalie. He has heard he's too small, too this, too that, for probably all of his life. And all he has done is win EVERYWHERE he goes. Most recently, he carried the Norfolk Admirals to 2011-12 Calder Cup. Mathieu Garon is in the number two seat in Tampa, but we wouldn't be surprised to see Tokarski push him like mad in camp. It won't be long before he's in the NHL. And while most see him as a top-notch backup or platoon guy, we won't count anything out. He has Jack Russell syndrome ... you know, big dog in a little dog's body? We love that kind of guy.
Tokarski is a little goalie whose best skill could very well be his ability to ratchet up his game significantly in big games. He had an up and down 2010-11 but finished strong for the AHL Norfolk Admirals, almost single-handedly stealing the team's first round playoff series. That performance -- two steals including a shutout, a 2.19 goals against average and a .924 save percentage -- should make him Norfolk's number one guy in 2011-12. His NHL career won't come for a couple seasons now that Mathieu Garon has been signed for two years. But he'll be a good one when he gets to the Bolts.
Tokarski continues to defy expectations at every level and has emerged as one of the better netminding prospects in the game. He is quick, controlled and extremely focused, and his positioning is exceptional. It needs to be -- 5-11 butterfly goalies don't exactly fit the mold of a top-flight NHL netminder. But this kid is a big-game goalie who has won at every level and who's to say he can't carry that into the bigs. He'll split time with rising prospect Jaroslav Janus in the AHL this season so single-year leaguers should shy away. But keeper leaguers should have him on their minor rosters. The path to the net in Tampa Bay isn't all that long.
Tokarski is a small, unorthodox netminder who couldn't catch the eye of scouts to save his life. Even after earning Memorial Cup MVP in 2008, he sat until the fifth round before the Bolts scooped him up. He then won a gold medal for Team Canada at the World Juniors in 2009 with a masterful performance in the gold medal match and his stock started to rise. He's a big-game netminder who just needs to keep his rebounds under control to make it to the NHL. Keeper leaguers need to stash him now. He'll apprentice in the AHL this season.
Drafted in 2008, Tyrell was ranked as just the ninth best North American goalie in the draft but his numbers cannot be dismissed -- he was the Memorial Cup MVP with a 4-0 record, a 1.72 goals-against average and .953 save percentage. Add that to 30 wins in 45 contests, including six shutouts and just 10 regulation defeats, over the season. He doesn't fit the Lightning's typical big goalie profile (he's just 5-11 and 185 pounds), but he could turn out to be one of the better netminders in the 2008 draft class. Keep his name in your back pocket.