When general manager Brad Treliving went out and acquired Tyler Toffoli back in back in mid-February, there wasn’t a person you could find in the Calgary Flames fanbase who didn’t love the deal. After all, they were acquiring a player who not only has Stanley Cup pedigree, but has been a consistent goal scorer for the majority of his nine-season career.
The excitement over the addition only grew from there, as Toffoli registered seven goals through his first 10 games with his new team. He has since cooled down, however, as he has not scored in eight straight, and has just three goals over his past 21 contests. That being said, there are plenty of reasons to believe he can get his scoring touch back for the postseason.
Proven Track Record
As mentioned, Toffoli has been a very solid goal scorer throughout his career. Not including a 10-game stint in 2012-13, as well as his rookie season in 2013-14 in which he had just 12 goals and 29 points in 62 games, he has recorded 179 goals in 577 games. That translates to roughly a goal every three games, a production rate which he is no where near as of late.
Just last season alone, the 30-year-old had a strong season for the Montreal Canadiens, scoring 28 goals and 44 points in just 52 games. Simply put, players that have produced for as long and consistently as he has don’t tend to stay in lengthy slumps like this often, meaning his luck should soon turn around.
It isn’t as if he is shying away from putting pucks on net either, as during this most recent eight-game goal scoring skid he has averaged 2.25 shots, which isn’t all that far off from his career average of 2.69. If anything, this appears to be a case of bad puck luck, meaning that when he puts one home, they may very well start coming in bunches, as is the case with plenty of skilled players after they break out of a slump.
Toffoli’s Wealth of Playoff Experience
Back in his rookie season, Toffoli was a part of a Los Angeles Kings team that was able to take home its second Stanley Cup in three years. While his regular season that year was nothing spectacular, he was far from a passenger during the Kings’ playoff run.
Through 26 games that season, his seven goals ranked fourth on the Kings, just two shy of well-noted clutch playoff performer Justin Williams. While by no means the team’s MVP, Toffoli played a very instrumental role in the Kings bringing home the Cup that year, something Flames fans are hopeful he can help do this year.
Last season, Toffoli was one of the best forwards on a Canadiens team that shocked the world and advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. Though he wasn’t at his best, he still tied for second on the team with five goals during the run, while finishing second in points with 14. With the two deep runs, paired with his 76 career postseason games, he will have zero problem feeling comfortable with the added pressure the playoffs bring.
Flames Have Plenty of Weapons
One benefit for Toffoli heading into the playoffs this year compared to last is that he doesn’t have the pressure of being ‘the guy’ like he did with the Canadiens. In Montreal last season, he was the only player to score north of 20 goals, and was relied on heavily in the playoffs.
That won’t be the case this year, as the Flames have several other weapons in players like Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk, and Andrew Mangiapane who are all capable of producing high level offence. On top of that, they also produce several others who can provide secondary scoring in Blake Coleman and Mikael Backlund, just to name a few. All that talent should only help Toffoli get his game back on track in the near future.
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Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.