Tyler Toffoli provided a huge boost for the Vancouver Canucks’ offence, but re-signing him is going to be extremely difficult.
Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning went all-in when he acquired Tyler Toffoli from the Los Angeles Kings before the trade deadline, and the 27-year-old delivered instant results for his new team.
With Brock Boeser briefly sidelined, Toffoli stepped into the top-six, where he performed beautifully with six goals and 10 points in as many games. Toffoli’s leadership and experience (he won a Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2014) was going to be be instrumental in Vancouver’s playoff push, too.
Toffoli is set to enter unrestricted free agency this summer, and though the Canucks would obviously love to keep him, it’s much easier said than done. Barring some miracle work by Benning, it’s hard to envision the Canucks retaining him.
Even if Vancouver lets Markstrom walk, they have to re-sign at least one of those two defencemen plus Virtanen. Toffoli, who’s having one of the best seasons of his career, can easily command around $5 million annually on his next deal — perhaps more.
So where will the Canucks have room to keep Toffoli? Let’s not forget about next year’s Seattle expansion draft, either. As I wrote about here, the Canucks will likely have seven key forwards to protect anyway.
Vancouver’s top line will still consist of Boeser, Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller for the long run. Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson — whom Benning should look to extend this offseason — will anchor line two. Would the Canucks want to theoretically pay Toffoli $5 million-plus annually for a role (second line winger) that Virtanen is well suited for?
Toffoli has been a great fit in Vancouver’s top-six, but they’re in a serious cap crunch heading into the offseason. Like it or not, Toffoli’s tenure here is most likely going to be short and sweet. The Canucks just don’t have the cap room or roster space to make it work.