LOS ANGELES — For Los Angeles Kings center prospect Tyler Madden, his 2020-21 season with the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League was mostly a lost season.
Indeed, Madden, who was one part of the trade that sent right wing Tyler Toffoli to the Vancouver Canucks on February 17, 2020, played in just 14 games last season due to injury after suffering a broken collarbone. But he got into some games at the end of the season.
“Those couple of games were, for me, just getting back into it,” he said. “But I just like to play with confidence. That’s a big part of my game. If I’m confident, my game is going to be at its highest [level].”
“I definitely had a rough year last year,” he added. “But it’s good to be out there [during this week’s 2021 Development Camp], getting some game feel, and stuff like that for this week. It’s been really good.”
Having recovered fully from his injury, Madden has been in the gym quite a bit since the end of last season.
“I definitely gained some weight [this summer], so I’m feeling pretty good out there with my stride and everything,” he noted. “I’ve gotten a little bit faster. I’ve been [at the Kings practice facility in El Segundo, California to train] for most of the summer, so that’s definitely helped out.”
Despite being forced to the sidelines for the vast majority of last season, Madden apparently made good use of that time.
“[Having] that first year under my belt, even though I didn’t [play] a lot of games because of my injury, it was a really good way to start, and I think this [year] will be what I consider to be my first year of [professional hockey],” he said. “But last year was definitely helped me to change to a pro style of life.”
“Since I was out a bit, I got to watch a lot of the games,” he added. “That was a good way to learn how everybody plays in [the AHL], because it is a little different from college.”
“That helped a lot, and my off-ice training really went up a bunch. Taking care of my body, and stuff like that, are the things I was focusing on while I was out. Once I got back to skating, I jumped right back into full stride, and I was back with the team.”
Madden’s development has certainly been delayed by his lost 2020-21 season. But if you take that into account, his development still appears to be progressing at pace.
“I still need to get a little stronger and faster, and [I also need] to get adjusted to the game at the pro level,” he noted. “Last year, I only played a handful of games. This year, I need to establish myself on a top line with the Reign and play some big minutes. Hopefully, my game can take over from there.”
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