Flames Trade Bait: Tyler Toffoli’s Value Never Higher
Tyler Toffoli had a career campaign with the Calgary Flames.
One of a quartet of Flames taking part in the IIHF World Hockey Championships this month, Toffoli is extending his season in a way that wasn’t possible with the Flames missing the playoffs a year after winning the Pacific Division.
The 31-year-old recently told Postmedia’s Wes Gilbertson he wanted to end his hockey year on a positive note and replicate a shorter off-season that ultimately led him to a 34-goal, 73-point season that proved he still had plenty in the tank as a top-tier forward.
He filled in admirably on the flank that Matthew Tkachuk owned alongside centre Elias Lindholm.
But his future with the Calgary Flames may be murkier than most.
Toffoli could be an unrestricted free agent next July, was an avid supporter of the recently fired head coach Darryl Sutter and is one of Milan Lucic’s besties.
Lucic is an impending UFA who will not be returning to the Flames. Sutter was fired because an overwhelming number of players voiced their hesitation in continuing a relationship with the franchise under his heavy thumb.
And, frankly, Toffoli’s value may never be higher on the trade market.
His $4.25-million salary is a bargain for his recent production — 45 goals and 96 points in 119 games with the Calgary Flames since acquiring him from the Montreal Canadiens ahead of the trade deadline in the 2021-22 season.
His Stanley Cup experience (a pair of championships under Sutter in Los Angeles) bode well for market value as well.
The Flames gave up a first-round pick in last year’s draft, a fifth rounder in the next one, and a low-level prospect in Emil Heineman, while unloading Tyler Pitlick as well. Considering the season he just had, Toffoli could land at least a couple of high picks or combination of picks and prospects for a contender looking for a trustworthy goal scorer who also plays a strong game without the puck.
He ranked 22nd in shots in the NHL this year and had a dozen more clank the post or crossbar — among the 10 most in the league. You may not be able measure clutch, but Toffoli defined it at times this season.
Had a few more of those shots off the iron landed a millimetre inward, the Flames might have claimed more of those one-goal games and found themselves in a Florida Panthers situation in the NHL playoffs.
Given his season and salary, and the unlikelihood of the Flames seeking to re-sign him following this season, he’s one of the more likely members of the current 2024 UFA gang to be dealt over the draft or summer months.
A good showing at the worlds can only help.
Flames At the World Championship
Tyler Toffoli (Team Canada)
Milan Lucic (Team Canada)
MacKenzie Weegar (Team Canada)
Matthew Coronato (Team USA)