Toth likely scratch for playoff tilt

Calgary Roughnecks' Kaleb Toth could be a healthy scratch to open the post-season against the...

Calgary Roughnecks' Kaleb Toth could be a healthy scratch to open the post-season against the Edmonton Rush . (Mike Drew/QMI Agency/Files)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:08 PM ET

CALGARY - If there is one consistent theme to Calgary Roughnecks playoff games, it's the No. 9.

Every time the Riggers have dropped the ball on a National Lacrosse League post-season game, Kaleb Toth has played a key role in the outcome.

So the fact the lone remaining original Riggers player could be a healthy scratch Saturday to open the post-season against the Edmonton Rush is a difficult thing to believe.

Certainly, it’s not easy for the 34-year-old veteran, who played only seven games this season in taking a lesser role with a deep Roughnecks offence.

But there hasn’t been a moment this season — during which the Riggers had a league-best 12-4 record — where Toth put the spotlight on himself and his situation.

“He’s a positive, veteran presence,” Riggers head coach Dave Pym said. “There are guys who might not be getting on the floor and could pout.

“Kaleb has been anything but that. He’s been supportive of his teammates and has given lots of positive communication.”

Certainly, Toth can still play in the NLL. In those seven games, he’s contributed three goals and five assists, all in limited floor-time.

It’s just that the Riggers have a deep team, especially among the right-handed forwards.

He knows how tough it is for offensive coach Curt Malawsky to dole out playing time, and Malawski will be going with the group that gives the Riggers the best chance to win.

“He’s in a tough position, and I don’t blame him for anything he does,” Toth said. “If we were a 4-12 team, I could complain. But we were 12-4 and first in the entire league. I won’t question anything as long as we keep on winning.

“I want to be in those key situations. I want to be on the powerplay. I want to be ragging the ball. I want to be taking a regular shift. It’s not my call.”

The future for Toth with the Riggers is up in the air. As a pending unrestricted free agent, he can go anywhere he gets interest in the upcoming off-season.

If he does continue playing, he would like it to be in Calgary, but that might not be the best situation.

If he does retire, the Riggers would like to keep him around in some capacity, whether it’s in coaching or management, although there is no obvious role at this point.

Midway through this season, the Roughnecks quietly asked Toth if he wanted to get traded elsewhere so could play.

He refused. It didn’t seem right.

“I can’t see myself playing anywhere else,” Toth said. “It would be a difficult decision if that does come up. I don’t know if mentally I can do it.

“I’ve had such a commitment being here, and this is where my heart is. This is where I want to be. But at the end of the day, I have to do what’s best for myself and my family.”

During home games when he’s not dressed, Toth sits in the stands with his wife and two kids.

He may have already suited up for his final Roughnecks game, which is tough to comprehend.

If the Riggers keep winning, Toth could be sitting and watching three more games.

“It would be difficult,” Toth said. “But I would be happy for the team.

“We’ve worked hard, and it’s not just myself. I don’t want to take away from anyone else.”

On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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