Dom Lunardo | March 29th, 2020
Participant in the CHL Top Prospects Game, NHL All-Star, and a Stanley Cup Winner with the Los Angeles Kings in 2014. These are just some of the career accolades for current Vancouver Canucks forward Tyler Toffoli. Excitement was in abundance when Jim Benning, General Manager of the Vancouver Canucks, pulled off the trade that brought Toffoli to the west coach back on February 17. Benning and his management team knew they were getting not only a great player on the ice but an even better person off it. For a Canucks team that was right in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race when the NHL hit the “pause” button due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canucks fans quickly recognized that Toffoli was going to be a very important piece of the puzzle. Set to hit unrestricted free agency on July 1st, Toffoli’s services will be in high demand from around the National Hockey League. Toffoli’s 6’1 stature, with the ability to consistently score 20+ goals, will have opposing GMs salivating at even the thought of Toffoli in their locker room. Canucks fans, on the other hand, can only hope Toffoli’s time on the west coast is anything but short-lived. Let’s dive in and take a closer look at what a potential contract extension looks like for the Scarborough, Ontario native, as he mentally and physically prepares to hit the open market on July 1.
Junior Ranks, Los Angeles…and “That 70s Line”
After being drafted in the second round, 47th overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings, it took a couple of years for Tyler Toffoli to make the jump to the big leagues. Toffoli split his time and further developed his craft playing for both the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League (AHL) and Ottawa 67s of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). As many “in the know” from across the NHL would often attest: “The NHL is not a development league”. Luckily for a guy like Toffoli, both the AHL and OHL are leagues that focus on player development. In hindsight, his time at the junior level helped launch his NHL career (you don’t say). While playing for the 67s, Toffoli put up some monster numbers and took the entire league by storm. In 2010-11 he tallied a grand total of 108 points, and a year later he hit the 100-point plateau again, further proving to the Kings that he was ready for prime time.
Under the bright lights of the Staples Centre in sunny Los Angeles, California, is where Toffoli rose through the ranks to the NHL. His size, strength, and skill, combined with his ability to win puck battle after puck battle, made him an instant fan-favorite in L.A. In addition to this, Toffoli also became a member of the infamous “That 70s Line” alongside Jeff Carter, and his current Vancouver Canucks teammate, Tanner Pearson. The line was referred to as “That 70s Line” because of their jersey/sweater numbers of 73, 77, and 70, respectively. This line would remain intact, much to the dismay of opposing teams from 2014 to 2018. It also helped the Kings hoist Lord Stanley’s mug in June 2014. The team’s second Stanley Cup championship in 3 seasons (after previously winning in 2012).
The Cap “Hit”
So what would the payout (term and dollar amount) look like for Tyler Toffoli? Slated to turn 28 years of age at the end of April, all indications point to Toffoli landing himself a pretty significant contract, and arguably the largest (and final) one of his career. Toffoli’s current cap hit is $4.6M, which is very reminiscent of a “team-friendly” deal to say the least. Like several others from around the NHL, Toffoli joins a long and rather prevalent list of names who are all looking to “cash in” this July 1st. Some of these names include Alex Pietrangelo, Torey Krug, Mike Hoffman, Taylor Hall, Wayne Simmonds, Tyson Barrie, Jacob Markstrom, Braden Holtby, and Joe Thornton.
Vancouver fans, rest assured, will be doing their best impressions of potential “couch GMs”, each looking to “cap crunch” in order to preview and generate a potential contract which would see Toffoli back in Vancouver next season. Like so many teams from across the NHL, Vancouver has to be wary of the salary cap and will have to look at creative ways to maneuver around it to keep their core players together. When all is said and done, my guess would be to look for Tyler Toffoli to land himself a 5-6 year contract at a price range of $5.5-6.8M. Time itself will be the only true indicator as to whether those numbers fit under Vancouver’s current cap structure, or if he’ll look elsewhere.
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