The Canucks provided a troubling Brock Boeser update, and in doing so, explained the steep fee they paid for Tyler Toffoli.
It turns out that the Boeser injury news is worse than thought. GM Jim Benning said that they view it as an eight-week injury. If that holds true, Boeser would miss the rest of the regular season and playoff time if Vancouver makes it.
(The Canucks also ruled out Josh Leivo for at least the rest of the regular season.)
Boeser injury and how it relates to Toffoli trade
Benning explained that, yes, Boeser’s injury partially prompted the Toffoli trade. The Canucks GM believes that Toffoli does a lot of the same things as Boeser.
On one hand, Boeser may seem like a bigger name. Boeser also produced bigger point totals than Toffoli recently.
Despite playing in 69 or fewer games during the previous two seasons, Boeser generated 26 and 29 goals, along with 55 and 56 points. Toffoli’s recent numbers are far more modest, although he managed 31 goals and 58 points in 2015-16.
Those numbers stem from the days of “That ’70s Line.” Fittingly, Benning asked current Canuck Tanner Pearson about Toffoli before the trade.
Could Toffoli catch fire after leaving the Kings much like Ilya Kovalchuk with Montreal? It’s fair to ask when you compare Toffoli to Boeser with certain metrics. Take, for instance, Toffoli’s strong showings in Evolving Hockey’s RAPM charts:
Was Toffoli trade smart by Canucks?
I’ve personally argued that Toffoli was a player worth targeting because he’s better than the simplest stats might imply. If you’re looking purely at replacing Boeser, Benning indeed seems to have a point.
Of course, the other side of the argument is that the Canucks might have been risking things by adding Toffoli to a mix that included Boeser.
After all, to get Toffoli the Canucks gave up a second-round pick, conditional pick, and Tyler Madden (whom The Athletic’s Corey Pronman ranks [sub required] as Pronman’s 40th best prospect). Benning told reporters that, while he spoke to Toffoli’s agent, the team is going to see how he fits before making any sort of extension decision. This seems like a hefty price for a Canucks team with an unclear outlook.
Clearly, Vancouver remains resolute in going for it in 2019-20.
To Benning’s credit, it’s not outrageous to look at the standings (particularly in the Pacific) and conclude that it’s a decent time to roll the dice:
You can get dizzy pondering the range of possibilities, from winning the division to outright missing the playoffs.
By placing Boeser and Leivo on LTIR, the Canucks also hold significant cap space, even after adding Toffoli at his full $4.6M AAV. In other words, the Canucks could throw even more caution to the wind.
(I don’t think they’ll trade for Jeff Carter to fully reunite him with Pearson or Toffoli, though. Aw, shucks.)
MORE: PHT’s 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.