Canucks Acquire Toffoli as Injuries Mount Up

On Monday evening, the Vancouver Canucks traded away forward Tim Schaller, prospect Tyler Madden, a 2020 second-round pick and a 2022 conditional fourth-round pick to the Los Angeles Kings for forward Tyler Toffoli.

Related: 20 Biggest NHL Trades in the Past Year

Toffoli, who is a pending unrestricted free agent, brings secondary scoring to the Canucks, which is something they’ve lacked since the All-Star break due to an injury to forward Brock Boeser.

Injuries Adding up

The Canucks have lost some key players as of late. The team announced Boeser will be out with a rib cartilage fracture and will be re-evaluated in three weeks. Boeser has been a key piece in the Canucks offense, as he has 16 goals and 45 points in 56 games this season. He signed a three-year deal last offseason, which had a value of $5.875 million per season.

Brock Boeser Vancouver Canucks
Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Micheal Ferland has been shut down for the season as he continues to suffer from reccurring concussion-like symptoms. The forward appeared in 14 games for the team and had five points in those games. Ferland played in a game for American Hockey League’s Utica Comets on Friday night and was removed from the game due to concussion-like symptoms.

Related: Canucks’ Hughes and the Calder Trophy Race

Ferland signed a four-year contract worth $3.5 million per season with the Canucks after scoring 17 goals and 40 points in 70 games with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. Vancouver saw Ferland as an energetic player and hoped he would make the team harder to play against throughout the season.

What Toffoli Brings

Toffoli scored a hat trick on Saturday night to help the Kings beat the Colorado Avalanche in the Stadium Series game, which brought his season total to 18 goals and 34 points in 58 games. He has had a knack for scoring and has 139 career goals in 515 games played. In 2015-16, Toffoli had a career-high 31 goals but has struggled to find the same success since. He posted 24 goals in 2017-18 and is on pace for 25 goals this season. He is likely to gain a boost playing on the power play alongside Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, J.T. Miller, and Bo Horvat.

Reuniting With Tanner Pearson

In Vancouver, Toffoli will once again be playing with Tanner Pearson – the duo played a key role in the Kings’ 2014 Stanley Cup run and, with Jeff Carter, were known as That 70’s Line. Pearson was traded to the Canucks last season from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Erik Gudbranson. He has had a successful season scoring 17 goals in 59 games, which is similar to Toffoli’s season with the Kings. Toffoli’s 18 goals led the Kings and put him at fourth on his new team, tied with his likely linemate, Horvat.

Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli, and Jeff Carter, also known as the 70’s line. (THW Archives)

Horvat’s New Linemate

Canucks have struggled to find permanent linemates for their captain, who had played with 30 different sets of wingers last season. Pearson has found himself playing on Horvat’s left-wing for the majority of this season.

Bo Horvat Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

Toffoli is likely to play on Horvat’s right-wing and if Toffoli and Pearson are able to find success along with their captain, the line will stick together until the playoffs.

Losing Tyler Madden

Tyler Madden is a key piece in the trade with the Kings. THW’s own, Matthew Zator, listed Madden at No. 3 in his midseason Canucks top 10 prospects update. The forward has led his collegiate team, Northeastern University, in scoring and set a new career-high in points. He is also a candidate for the Hobey Baker Award due to his strong play.

Tyler Madden of the Central Illinois Flying Aces
Tyler Madden, formerly of the Central Illinois Flying Aces (Hickling Images)

Additionally, Madden won a silver medal at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. The prospect led Northeastern in winning the Beanpot over Boston University in double overtime last Monday. Although the Canucks lose a top prospect, they still have other players coming up, such as 2019 draft picks Vasili Podkolzin and Nils Hoglander.

Canucks Making a Deep Playoff Run

Toffoli’s three-year, $13.8 million contract comes to an end this offseason. Canucks have $18 million in projected cap space for next season. With the likes of Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev, Jake Virtanen, Troy Stecher, and Adam Gaudette becoming free agents this offseason, it will be tough to re-sign the pending unrestricted free agent.

Therefore, Toffoli is most likely a rental for Vancouver, and the move means that the team is looking to make a deep playoff run. With the Pacific Division being as tight as it is, an opportunity for a team to make a deep run is wide open.

The Canucks are hoping that the addition of Toffoli and the return of Boeser is enough to push their team ahead of the rest of the division.