Tokarski first made noise when he led the Prince Albert Mintos to the 2006 all-Canada midget championship - the prestigious TELUS Cup. He played with the Mintos because he went undrafted in the WHL bantam draft. In fact, it took his mother Emailing teams to get him a spot on a midget team. The year after the TELUS Cup, he tried out for and made the Spokane Chiefs. He split goaltending duties with Kevin Armstrong before taking over the starting job for the Chiefs in the playoffs. He would lead Spokane to the WHL championship, where he won MVP of the finals, and the Memorial Cup championship, where he won tournament MVP. Later in 2008, he was chosen as the surprise starter for Canada's World Junior team, and though he struggled early, he eventually led Canada to the gold medal, winning player of the game honors in the gold medal game. He made his professional debut in 2009 for Norfolk of the AHL, dropping a close 2-1 game on the road to the defending Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears. He won his second start, a 2-0 shutout of the Manchester Monarchs. Tokarski finished his rookie AHL campaign with a 27-25-3 record in 52 appearances after assuming sole starting duties down the stretch after Jaroslav Janus went down with a minor knee injury. Tokarski also made 2 relief appearances at the NHL level with the Lightning in 2009-2010, with his NHL debut taking place on 1/16/10 in Florida against the Panthers.
Incredibly focused and poised between the pipes, Tokarski excels at staying square to the shooter and letting pucks hit him. He is capable of the highlight reel save (see vs. Colin Wilson in 2009 WJCs), but finds success by consistently making the saves he's supposed to and swallowing rebounds. He reads the play exceptionally well and has good lateral movement.
He is a big game goaltender, bringing his best effort when it matters most. His poise and focus stand out, as does his ability to read the play - for which his coaches have often praised him. Few have Tokarski's heart and drive.
Size has always been an issue he's been able to overcome, yet as he faces better competition, he'll face more shots around the shoulders. If his team is up big he tends to lose focus from time to time late in games.
Will likely be an NHL starter at some time during his career, which will once again prove the experts who said he was too small to make it wrong.
|2009-2010||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||2||4.09||.813||||
|2011-2012||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||5||3.44||.879||||
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