2005-06: Dustin Tokarski played for the Prince Albert Minots as the team captured the Telus Cup, Canada’s midget hockey championship. Tokarski had three shutouts and a 1.98 GAA for the Minots. He was added to the protected list of the WHL Spokane Chiefs in December.
2006-07: Tokarski split time with Kevin Armstrong in his rookie season with Spokane. He was 13-11 with 2 OT losses and had a 2.80 GAA and .903 save percentage in 30 games. Tokarski played all six playoff games for the Chiefs in their six-game, first round series with Everett and was 2-4 with a 2.80 GAA and .901 save percentage.
2007-08: Tokarski and Armstrong again shared the goaltending chores for the Chiefs, with Tokarski getting the bulk of the work. Tokarski finished 30-10 with three OT losses and a Chiefs’ record six shutouts. He had a 2.05 GAA and .922 save percentage in 45 games as the Chiefs were one of the top teams in the WHL. During the Chiefs’ WHL playoff championship run, he won 16 of 18 starts and posted a 1.38 GAA and .944 save percentage. He was named MVP of the WHL Western Conference finals series with Tri-City after shutting the Americans out twice and posting a 1.21 GAA and .953 save percentage in the series. Tokarski was named Memorial Cup MVP as the Chiefs were 4-0 and he had a 1.72 GAA and .953 save percentage. Tokarski stopped 52 of 53 shots as Spokane defeated Kitchener, 4-1, in the championship game. Tokarski attended Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence goaltending camp in June and Canada’s WJC U-20 development camp.
2008-09: Tokarski had an outstanding season – both with Spokane and with gold-medal winning Canada at the 2009 WJC U-20 tournament. In WHL play, he was 34-18-2 with seven shutouts – topping his club mark from 2007-08. Tokarski’s 1.97 GAA and .937 save percentage in 54 games for the Chiefs were both tops in the WHL. Tokarski was 7-5 with a 1.70 GAA and .947 save percentage in twelve games as Spokane fell to Vancouver in a classic, seven-game, second round series. Tokarski stopped 41 shots in Game Seven before the Giants’ Nick Ross scored 1:56 into OT for a 1-0 win. Tokarski and WHL rival Chet Pickard (NASH) were in net for host Canada at the WJC. Tokarski won all four of his starts, including a 39-save effort in Canada’s 5-1 win over Sweden in the gold medal game.
2009-10: Tokarski spent most of his first pro season with Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate Norfolk – making his NHL debut with two relief appearances with the Lightning during a January call-up. Tokarski was 27-25 with 3 OT losses and 4 shutouts in 55 games for Norfolk with a 2.51 GAA and .915 save percentage. The Admirals fell just short of reaching the playoffs. In 44 minutes of NHL action, he allowed 3 goals on 16 shots.
2010-11: Tokarski had a strong second half and emerged as AHL Norfolk’s playoff starter in his second pro season. Tokarski started all six playoff games for the fourth-place Admirals against first-place East Division rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and was 2-4 with a 2.19 GAA and .924 save percentage. In 46 regular season games for the Admirals he was 21-25 with a 2.65 GAA and .901 save percentage.
2011-12: Tokarski appeared in five NHL games with the Lightning and was the starting goalie for Tampa Bay AHL affiliate Norfolk, which won that league’s championship. He joined Tampa Bay for a game on March 8th at Washington after an injury to starter Mathieu Garon; stopping 29 of 32 shots to help the Lightning earn a point in a 3-2 overtime loss. He started the next four games and was 1-3, finishing with a 3.44 goals against and .879 save percentage. Tokarski won 32 games for Norfolk in 45 appearances – including an 8-game win streak prior to his NHL call-up – and had a 2.23 goals against and .913 save percentage. In 14 playoff games he was 12-2 with 3 shutouts and had a 1.46 goals against and .944 save percentage.
2012-13: Tokarski spent his fourth pro season in the AHL — starting the year with Lighting affiliate Norfolk before being obtained by Montreal in exchange for Cedrick Desjardins in a February 2013 trade and finishing the year with Hamilton. He was 18-8-4 with 3 shutouts in 33 games with the Crunch prior to the trade and had a 2.46 goals against and .900 save percentage. In 15 games with Hamilton he was 6-8 with 3 shutouts and had a 2.22 goals against and .927 save percentage. The Bulldogs missed the AHL playoffs after finishing last in the North Division. Tokarski was re-signed by Montreal to a one-year contract as a restricted free agent in August, 2013.
Tokarski is known for his calm demeanor and is a reliable goaltender in pressure situations. Despite concerns about how vulnerable he may be against top level scorers due to his small frame and a perceived tendency to commit to the low shots too early, Tokarski has had an ability to win games and come up big in the clutch throughout his career to this point. He consistently puts up good games and rarely has an off night.
Tokarski will have competition for his starter’s job in Hamilton this season and needs to take his overall game to the next level in order to become a back-up or starter in the NHL. He should be the injury replacement for the Canadiens' goalies.