3. Jim Benning must re-sign both Tyler Toffoli and Chris Tanev
Wouldn’t it be a shame to never see Toffoli play another game as a Vancouver Canuck? What about Chris Tanev? These two players both had killer seasons for the Canucks, but their future in Vancouver has never been so uncertain.
Toffoli was meant to be a buffer that kept the Canucks holding down a playoff spot while Boeser recovered from injury. That worked perfectly as he showed instant chemistry on the top line putting up 10 points, (6 goals and 4 assists) in 10 games with the Canucks. His “buffer” status went to “must keep” pretty darn quick, and some people may argue he’s a better fit on the team’s top-scoring line than Boeser himself.
His addition really strengthens the depth of Vancouver’s forward group. The right-wing is stronger than it has ever bee and if the Canucks don’t get to see him do some damage in the playoffs this year, it would really dampen his initial acquisition altogether. Vasili Podkolzin is NHL ready now and would be the perfect replacement, but he’s committed to the KHL for one more season before he can join the Canucks. Toffoli gives the top-nine in Vancouver a scary look and it would be a shame not to see his addition reach its potential.
Toffoli hits every nail on the head as to why he should remain a Vancouver Canuck. It’s just a matter of making it work. What we got from the two-time Stanley Cup winner was too valuable to walk away from. It was a small sample size, yes. But Toffoli is the real deal that is going to turn this Canucks’ top-six/bottom-six lineup into a lethal top-nine forward group that can score and play a mean style game.
Tanev on the other hand nearly played an entire season without an injury and looked completely rejuvenated next to Hughes. The two were a dynamic pairing for the majority of the season and Tanev (when he’s healthy) has a lot he can still offer the Canucks top-four. It was his best season to date in 2019-20. At the age of 30, he still has a few good years left, just don’t expect his production to remain the same as he approaches his mid-thirties.
Outside of Hughes, the youth of Canucks’ defence is thin. The veteran’s on the blueline aren’t getting any younger, and without Tanev the Canucks back end probably takes a step back. At this point, he’s a safe bet for Benning, but it has to be at the right dollar and term. Something too long won’t sit right with the fanbase, but letting him walk won’t go over well either. A four-year deal might be too rich but at a lowered dollar amount, it might be what gets both sides to come to a mutual agreement.
Jim Benning has a long list of things to accomplish this offseason, but it’s vital to the organization’s success that he gets these three things nailed to the top of his priority list. It’s going to be a very stressful, very difficult summer for Vancouver, but Benning has what it takes to do what’s right. It’s going to be okay, Canucks’ fans.