Should the Vancouver Canucks try to trade for Tyler Toffoli?

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Noah Strang
1 year ago
Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff reported today that forward Tyler Toffoli does not plan on re-signing with the Calgary Flames. Elliot Friedman later added on that the Flames have made Toffoli available in trade talks. All signs point to the forward being moved sooner than later.
This announcement comes in the middle of a tidal wave of news in Calgary of player departures. As of now, it appears that Noah Hanifin, Elias Lindholm, and Mikael Backlund will all be departing and playing elsewhere next season.
As the Calgary sell off begins over the coming days, multiple teams from around the league will be getting in touch. One of those teams could be the Vancouver Canucks, who would be interested in multiple names from that list, including Toffoli. The winger played in Vancouver during the 2019-20 NHL season, scoring 10 points in 10 regular season games and another four points in seven playoff games.
With the chance to throw their hat in the bidding war and bring Toffoli back to the west coast just a few years later, is he someone that the Canucks should be targeting? While the 31 year old would be an exciting addition, the Canucks don’t have the assets to make such a luxurious move and the fit isn’t perfect enough to make it seriously worth pursuing.

Toffoli’s Canucks history

When the Canucks acquired Tyler Toffoli at the 2020 NHL trade deadline, the winger was a huge boost to the team’s top six. He fit in perfectly and scored 10 points in 10 regular season games. Unfortunately, that NHL season was the one that was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and those would be the only regular season games Toffoli would play in a Canucks jersey.
When the bubble playoffs rolled around, Toffoli injured himself in the play-in game against the Minnesota Wild. This limited him to just seven postseason games, in which he contributed two goals and two assists. Overall, Toffoli’s strong performance over the 17 games he played in a Canucks jersey had fans excited for his future with the team, but the organization let him walk in free agency, where he signed with the Montreal Canadiens. Toffoli went on to score eight goals in eight games against the Canucks during the very next season.

What Toffoli would bring next season and beyond

Because we’ve already seen Toffoli fit in so well with current forwards such as Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller, there’s little doubt that he would have good chemistry with some of the team’s most important players. While he’s not the fastest skater, Toffoli is smart and has a wicked shot that he can use to finish scoring chances. He scored 34 goals and had 39 assists for 73 points in 82 games this past season with the Flames.
Toffoli has one season left on that contract he signed after departing the Canucks. He has an AAV of $4.25 million, a very reasonable cap hit considering he just broke the 30 goal and 70 point marks as a top-six winger. While the Canucks do have plenty of wingers, Toffoli would be one of the team’s best dollar per dollar with his cap hit of $4.25 million.
Toffoli is coming off the best season of his career and his style of play isn’t predicated off of blazing speed but at 31 years old, there is some worry that he’s nearing the back nine of his playing days. While his contract is expiring next offseason and thus the Canucks wouldn’t have to make a large financial commitment, giving up assets in a trade right now doesn’t make much sense. There will be other teams vying for Toffoli’s services and while Calgary isn’t going to get a king’s ransom, the cost will not be insignificant either.

Why the fit just isn’t quite right

While some fans will get emotional and push for a Toffoli reunion, the fit just isn’t that good in reality. A 31-year-old slower winger not known for his defensive game is last on the list of needs for the Canucks at the moment.
The fear after the Canucks cleared cap space with this Oliver Ekman-Larsson buyout is that they’ll turn around and spend it on a player like this. The Canucks cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes that have plagued them for years and this is a great chance for Patrik Allvin to show that he knows better.
While it’s easy to reminisce about the ones that got away, the Canucks have no need for a player like Toffoli at this point in time. While it would be a lot nicer to have a 30+ goal scorer costing $4.25 million than some of the other contracts that they have on the wing, management cannot compound errors by chasing another scoring winger.
As the divisional rival Flames enter a rebuild, the Canucks shouldn’t go after their ageing pieces. While there might be a trade fit there somewhere, it’s not with Toffoli. Instead, the Canucks can sit back and be thankful that the Flames will likely not be competing for a playoff spot anytime soon.

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