With the NHL trade deadline drawing near, the Montreal Canadiens are gearing up to make a final push for this year’s playoffs. The Canadiens currently sit in third place in the Atlantic Division. Just a point back of the second place Toronto Maple Leafs. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin stated in a press conference earlier this month that he would not be selling the future for rental players. However, he would be looking to make a move to improve his team. The only way Bergevin is willing to pull the trigger on a deal is if the player in return helps better his team not only today but in the future. Bergevin is looking to acquire a player with term left on his deal past this season.
With the Los Angeles Kings currently sitting out of the playoffs, they are looking to sell off some assets. Tyler Toffoli is one of the names who could be potentially on the move. Is he someone the Canadiens could look to acquire?
Tyler Toffoli a Potential Target for the Montreal Canadiens?
Taking into consideration Marc Bergevin’s comments, Toffoli certainly fits the bill of what the Habs general manager is looking for. Toffoli is a 26-year-old winger who has one more year remaining on his deal after this season. This is the type of contract Bergevin is looking to acquire if he does, in fact, make a move at this year’s deadline. Also, at 26, Toffoli still has a number of prime years left. They would be acquiring Toffoli at the perfect time to help the team become a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
Proven Goal Scorer
Over his five-year NHL career (not including this current season) Tyler Toffoli has been a consistent goal scorer. He’s hit the 20-goal plateau three times, including one season over 30 goals. The only two seasons he didn’t reach at least 20 goals, he missed time due to injury. Although their production is up this year, sitting in the top half of the league, the Canadiens could certainly use some more help finding the back of the net. The only consistent goal scorers the Habs currently have are Tomas Tatar and Brendan Gallagher. However, Gallagher isn’t what you would call a pure sniper. Most of his goals are due to hard work in front of the net and banging away at rebounds. Toffoli would give the Habs a legitimate sniper, something that’s currently missing from the lineup.
Help The Struggling Power-Play
The Canadiens power-play this season has been terrible. There’s no other way to put it. They currently have the worst power-play percentage in the entire league. The fact they sit in a playoff spot with a power-play so bad is actually very impressive. The issue with the Habs power play is that there aren’t enough scoring options. Teams know that the Habs are looking to open up Weber for a one-timer on the point. Taking that away basically shuts down the Habs power-play. Adding Tyler Toffoli to the fold would give the Habs another scoring threat that teams would have to be mindful of. This would in turn help open up Weber as well and in-turn should lead to more goals on the power play. Over his career, over 20 percent of Toffoli’s goals have come on the power play.
Solid Two-Way Game
Not only is Tyler Toffoli a consistent goal scorer, but he possesses a solid two-way game as well. Toffoli is very responsible in his own end and reads and anticipates plays very well. These tools allow him to intercept plays and quickly go on offence in transition.
Toffoli is also a very effective penalty killer and currently plays on the Kings top penalty kill unit alongside Jeff Carter. While the Canadiens aren’t horrible on the penalty kill, they do rank in the bottom half in the league. Currently sitting in 19th in the league at 79.5 percent, Toffoli would certainly help improve this group as well.
A Deal to be Made?
So is there a deal to be made between to the two clubs? With the Kings sitting in 28th in the entire league and only a point ahead of the New Jersey Devils, it may be time for them to start selling assets. The Kings are most likely facing a rebuild, so getting some picks or prospects for some of their assets this year would be a good idea. We saw how quickly the Habs turned their fortunes around. The Kings could do the same.
As Bergevin said he doesn’t want to sell the future for a rental. However, Tyler Toffoli wouldn’t be a rental and is in his prime. Dealing for him improves his team now, and in the future.
So what would Bergevin have to give up? Well, Bergevin currently holds two second-round picks. He also has depth when it comes to wingers, right defenceman and goaltending prospects. Players like Cale Fleury and Brett Lernout maybe not see the light of day in Montreal, strictly due to the fact that the Habs are stacked on the right side. A player like Charles Hudon comes to mind as well, as a very skilled hard working player, who just fell out of favour with the Habs due to the amount of bottom six depth on the roster.
Another interesting piece to add to the trade would be either Charlie Lindgren or Michael McNiven. With Jonathan Quick at 33 and the Kings most likely rebuilding, they could look to add a young netminder for the future. The Canadiens could afford to give up one of the two, as they have Carey Price locked up long-term and Cayden Primeau looking like the goalie of the future.
While there’s no telling what the Kings are looking to get for Toffoli exactly, a package involving some of these players should be enough to get the deal done. The two teams would make perfect trade partners.
Expect the Unexpected
While there haven’t been many rumours surrounding Toffoli, as Marc Bergevin said when he acquired Jonathan Drouin, “expect the unexpected.” The Canadiens general manager is always one of the busiest this time of year, and this year is surely no different. The team is proving to be a playoff calibre team and Bergevin will certainly look to make a “hockey deal” at the deadline to improve the club this year and in the future. It’s possible we could see Tyler Toffoli dawning the bleu blanc et rouge before this years’ trade deadline.
LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 15: San Jose Sharks Goalie Martin Jones (31) makes a save on a shot by Los Angeles Kings Right Wing Tyler Toffoli (73) during an NHL game between the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings on January 15, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)