The Colorado Avalanche continue to fill out their prospect pool by signing unrestricted free agent Dominic Toninato, a two-way forward out of Minnesota college hockey.
The Colorado Avalanche signed recent college graduate and unrestricted free agent Dominic Toninato to a two-year entry level contract on Wednesday. The contract carries a $925,000 cap hit but is worth $70,000 in the AHL.
This signing by the Avs can be seen as a consolation prize now that defenseman Will Butcher has definitely decided to reject Colorado. It can also be looked at as the Avalanche continuing to piece together a young, competitive team. Let’s go with that.
About Dominic Toninato
Draft: #126 by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2012
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Dominic Toninato is Minnesota native — Duluth specifically — but let’s not hold that against him. He also spent four years playing NCAA hockey for the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
In fact, Toninato serves as the team’s captain last year. He helped the Bulldogs capture their first-ever National Collegiate Hockey Conference title. He also helped them advance to the NCAA Frozen Four championship game.
Toninato played three years for Duluth East High School before joining the USHL’s Fargo Force, which is a Tier 1 junior ice hockey team. In his full year with Fargo, Toninato tied the record for a team-high 70 points (29 goals, 41 assists) in 64 games.
Dominic Toninato’s Playing Style
When it comes to playing style, GM Joe Sakic said it best during his presser:
"“[Toninato]is a big, responsible two-way center and represents a solid prospect for the future of our team.”"
In fact, Dominic Toninato was named the NCHC’s best defensive forward.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that heralded for his “defensive acumen.” However, he is known for being a two-way player, so he does have skills in offense as well. In fact, he’s known for being effective on both the penalty kill and the power play.
Toninato is known to play well in all three zones, thus proving he’s a versatile player. He can be a goal scorer and a playmaker. He’s also got great leadership qualities.
How Dominic Toninato Fits with the Colorado Avalanche
Dominic Toninato knows he has to show himself to the Colorado Avalanche. Here’s what he said during an interview with Altitude Radio’s Marc Moser:
"“They’re a young team and kind of rebuilding right now, so the opportunity was there. I don’t know where I’m going to be at right away, but the main focus is camp and showing them everything I got.”"
Toninato was selected in the fifth round by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2012. The team offered him an entry-level contract last summer, but he declined so he could finish his education. Toronto was only able to offer him an AHL contract this year because their roster is full.
Well, wouldn’t that be a nice problem for the Colorado Avalanche to have — being too full-up of prospects to be able to sign them all. Anyway, the Avs made out on this situation.
I think this is a pretty good signing by the Colorado Avalanche. It shows that they’re committed to creating a well-rounded team. Toninato is in no way a speedster with mad stick handling skills — he’s more of a responsible player to fill in the gaps.
Here’s what Toninato had to say about what he has to offer:
"“I take pride in a 200-foot game,” Toninato said. “I think it all starts in the defensive zone and works its way up (the ice). I’m a playmaker, I can score, I love being out there in any situation, whether it is power play, penalty kill, last minute of the game, in any case. Just looking to have an impact and be one of the people they turn to.”"
Toninato has expressed his happiness about coming to the Avalanche. However, during the radio inteview, Moser got down to the important question: “I’m guessing you were a Wild fan.”
Testing the waters, Toninato quipped, “Uh, am I allowed to say that?”
As Moser pointed out, no, Dom, no you’re absolutely not, Minnesota allegiances or not. Toninato knows the score, though — he laughed off his former allegiance.
Dominic Toninato will definitely continue to develop in the AHL. He’s certain to be at both rookie and training camps. However, I’m sure he’ll report to the San Antonio Rampage to begin the season. After that, though, I could see the Avalanche calling him up later in the season.