Yesterday afternoon, you may have heard the news that the Vancouver Canucks had acquired Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli in a trade. In return for the 27 year old goal scorer, the Canucks will send Tim Schaller, Tyler Madden, a second round draft pick and a conditional fourth round pick to Los Angeles. So far this season, Toffoli has 18 goals and 34 points in 58 games for a pretty bad Kings team. Like any trade in the National Hockey League, this one has some pros and cons for both sides, so let’s look at it from the Canucks’ perspective.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) February 18, 2020
Pro #1 – The Canucks have added a proven top 6 winger who can put the puck in the net.
Even with guys like Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller, Jake Virtanen and Tanner Pearson all on pace to get over 20 goals this year, the addition of more scoring never hurts. Toffoli can slot in on Horvat’s line and make Vancouver’s second line more formidable that it’s been in a long time, which will bump another scorer to the third line and help the lineup become more dynamic as a whole. If you’re interested in the comparison between Tyler and the guys we already have, he’s now the only winger on the Canucks with more that 30 goals in a season besides Loui Eriksson, who did it more than 10 years ago. Overall, this added depth of scoring can’t hurt the Canucks chances at making a run in the playoffs this season, especially considering that Toffoli is a Stanley Cup Champion, and knows what it takes to go far in the postseason.
Pro #2 – Toffoli and Pearson are reunited
In Los Angeles, Tyler and Tanner had great success as line mates alongside veteran Jeff Carter. They were dubbed ‘that 70s line’ because they all wear numbers in the seventies, and became great friends off the ice as well. Now, with Toffoli and Pearson together again in Vancouver, many fans believe that they will play on either side of centre Bo Horvat. So far this year, Horvat has 46 points and Pearson has 41, but if Tyler and Tanner can rekindle that chemistry that they had in L.A., the Canucks could have a very good counterpunch to Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller’s line. Here’s Pearson talking about the trade earlier today:
Tanner Pearson talks about being reunited with his former teammate Tyler Toffoli. pic.twitter.com/nSYskXqM4a
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) February 18, 2020
Pro #3 – Toffoli makes up for the loss of Brock Boeser
Just recently, news came out that Brock Boeser would be out 6-8 weeks with a fracture in his rib cartilage. Even more recently, GM Jim Benning made a statement saying that he’s likely out for the remainder of the regular season. Obviously, this is a big loss for the Canucks, as Boeser is 4th in points on the team and has a shot that makes him an integral part of the first power play unit. Fortunately, Toffoli should be able to at least help fill that void on the man advantage. Both Boeser and Toffoli are right handed shooters, so Tyler will be able to play the same left side position that Boeser does on the power play.
Like I said however, its not very often where there’s only positive sides to a trade in professional sports. This one’s no different, so let’s take a look at some of the possible negative sides of this trade for the Canucks:
Con #1 – Tyler Madden in no longer a Canucks prospect
When gaining someone as useful as Tyler Toffoli, you have to give someone of value up on return, and the Canucks did that when they traded away Tyler Madden. The 2018 third round pick has had a very solid season with Northeastern University, leading them in points with 37 in 27 games. However, Madden is a centre, which is a position that the Canucks are pretty strong in right now with Pettersson, Horvat, and Adam Gaudette. On top of that, the franchise already has other exciting prospects at forward on the way, including Nils Hoglander, Kole Lind, and Vasily Podkolzin. Given the situation, Madden may have been a guy that the Canucks were looking at trading away anyways, but nonethless, the franchise lost a talented young player in this trade.
Con #2 – Toffoli may only be here for half a season
Unfortunately for Vancouver, Tyler Toffoli only has this season to play before his contract expires and he becomes an unrestricted free agent. He makes $4.6 million per year right now, but if he wants a pay raise, Vancouver may not have the money to give. Obviously this is a risk Jim Benning was willing to take, but if Toffoli does walk, we gave away Madden and a second rounder for a guy to play 20-30 games in a Canucks jersey. This will be especially frustrating if Vancouver isn’t able to go very far in the postseason, because helping the team win now is the biggest reason Toffoli was brought in.
Con #3 – The Canucks have no first or second round draft picks next year
Lastly, with this trade and the trade for J.T. Miller in the offseason, the Canucks have no first or second round draft picks in the 2020 NHL entry draft if they make the playoffs this year. Unfortunately for Vancouver, this upcoming draft year is loaded with talent. Now obviously they can still trade to get one back, but if they don’t, the franchise’s first pick next year will come in the later stages of the third round. However, with the conditions of the Miller trade, if the Canucks don’t make the playoffs this season, they’ll get their first round pick this year, and it will be Tampa Bay’s pick in 2021. Either way, Benning seems content with the prospects he has in place now, and is OK with dealing draft choices away in order to get proven NHL players for today’s team.
Over the last few years, hopefully we’ve learned to wait and see how everything plays out before judging trades in Vancouver. That Cory Schnieder deal ended up just fine for us didn’t it? So for now, let’s just hope that Toffoli can come in and make an immediate impact, because it’s officially crunch time for the Canucks. For now, this is what a healthy Canucks roster will look like heading into playoffs: