(UPDATE: The Canucks have acquired Toffoli.)
With the NHL trade deadline getting close (February 24, 3 p.m. ET) the Pro Hockey Talk crew will be taking a closer look at some individual players that could be on the move. Today we focus on Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli.
Player: Tyler Toffoli
Current Team: Los Angeles Kings
Contract Status: Unrestricted free agent this season with a $4.6 million salary cap number.
Why the Kings might trade him: They are one of the worst teams in the league and need to collect as many long-term and future assets as they can. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported in this week’s 31 Thoughts that Kings coach Todd McLellan lobbied for the team to re-sign Toffoli, but that seems unlikely to happen. He is one of the players on the team that has some real trade value and could bring a return. It would be a shock if he remains on the Kings’ roster at the end of the month.
Teams that could/should have interest: Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers
What he provides: Toffoli has never been a player whose production jumps off the page. He had one 30-goal season back in 2015-16, but hasn’t really come close to matching that production in the years since.
Because of that he’s not going to be a player that’s going to draw big headlines when he does move.
But it’s also going to be interesting to see what he is capable of on another team, in another system, and with better talent around him.
Even when the Kings were good they were never an offensive juggernaut with their skill or style. Their success was always about defense and grinding teams down in an effort to win win every game 3-1.
But Toffoli has some talent, and his underlying numbers have always been sensational. He generates shots at an elite rate during 5-on-5 play (15th best shots on goal per 60 minutes this season), while his total shot attempt, scoring chances, and expected goal differentials are all among the top-30 in the league among forwards.
His goal scoring will probably never be more than what it is (expect 20 goals, maybe he pushes 30 in a great year with a shooting percentage spike) but his ability to drive play and possession could make a big impact with better, more skilled players around him within a system that plays to that.
Predicted destination: The Philadelphia Flyers need help on the wing and some forward depth and they have a shot to make the playoffs. After missing the postseason in two of the past three seasons and former general manager Ron Hextall facing heat for not being aggressive enough you have to think they look for an upgrade help. Toffoli probably does not cost as much as fellow rental Chris Kreider from the New York Rangers, but there is not much of a difference in production. The prediction here is that he goes to Philadelphia for two draft picks (second and a fourth) and a low-level prospect.
More NHL Trade Deadline:
• Trade Deadline primer: Chris Kreider
• Teams that need to be active at trade deadline
• Maple Leafs acquire Jack Campbell, Kyle Clifford