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Calgary Flames

Tide Turning on Tyler Toffoli Trade



Toffoli the teapot

Player stats updated as of Dec. 15, 2023.

May 23, 2023, was an eventful day in Flames history. After eight years of guidance under General Manager Brad Treliving, the Flames had finally settled on a successor. Long-time Flames executive Craig Conroy was promoted to manage the Calgary Flames and lead the organization into a new era.  

With major contracts such as Jonathan Huberdeau’s eight-year, $84,000,000 deal, Nazem Kadri’s seven-season $49,000,000 agreement, and four seasons remaining of Jacob Markstrom’s $36,000,000 pact binding Calgary closer to the cap ceiling than they would prefer, Conroy was left in charge of wheeling and dealing the assets that he could move. 

With the 2023 NHL Entry Draft approaching, June 27 marked the day of Conroy’s first major transaction. The rookie Flames GM traded 2022-2023 leading scorer Tyler Toffoli to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Belarussian center Yegor Sharangovich and the 2023 third round pick.  

Following a 4-2 Flames loss to the Devils on Dec. 9, Toffoli offered a bit of clarity on the move. 

“There’s obviously a lot of speculation out there that I wanted an eight-year deal and all the stuff, and that’s definitely not true,” Toffoli said. “It ends up being a business decision, and they didn’t feel that I would be part of the future or whatever they kind of wanted to do, and it is what it is, and I’ve moved on, and things are going well, and I’m really happy to be part of this team.” 

The response from the media and fans alike was – tepid at best.  

Toffoli, 31, was coming off a 34 goal, 73-point season. The sniper from Scarborough, Ontario finished the season with a nine-point lead over the next highest-scoring forward Elias Lindholm (64 points), and had carried a team-friendly cap hit of $4,250,000 for one more season.  

Sharangovich, meanwhile, was an RFA coming off a 13 goal, 17 assist season. One day after acquiring the 25-year-old, the Flames inked Yegor to a two-year $6,200,000 deal worth $3,100,000 annually. The Flames drafted left-shot winger Aydar Suniev with the third-round pick. It didn’t take an insider to see the disparity in production or value.  

One month into the 2023-2024 season, the trade didn’t look much better.  

Toffoli sat tied with Leafs superstar Auston Matthews for seventh in goals across the league with seven goals in eight games. With three assists on top of that, Toffoli was once again producing at a higher clip than any member of the Flames. Calgary’s highest scorer by 11:59pm of Oct. 31 was Andrew Mangiapane with three goals and three assists in nine games. 

Slowly but surely, since the end of the Flames’ nightmare 2-6-1 month, the narrative has begun to turn.  

Much like the rest of the Calgary Flames forwards, Sharangovich began to start finding his offensive touch in November. A four goal, four assist month over 14 games was certainly nothing to write home about, and still paled in comparison to Toffoli’s five goals and six assists in 13 November games, but the needle was certainly moving.  

Enter December. The six-foot-two, 196-pound Flames newcomer has ramped up to over a point-per-game pace with five goals and three assists in seven games. The former fifth round pick in 2018 has seen his minutes increase month over month from 13:01 (10th on the Flames among forwards) to 15:30 (7th) to 19:36 (2nd). Elias Lindholm is the only Flames forward playing more per game (20:56) in December.

Tyler Toffoli, meanwhile, has gone cold in December – zero points in six games despite averaging 18:25 in ice time. 

As for third round draft pick Aydar Suniev? The Kazan, Russia native is making waves during his rookie year in the NCAA. Seven goals and five assists has the 6-foot-2 sniper fourth in scoring on his team while being the second youngest player on the roster behind only Coyotes 2023 second round draft pick Michael Hrabal, who is a goaltender.

Much like the rest of the Calgary Flames, it’s difficult to look good on paper after such a miserable October. Sharangovich’s offensive totals on the season (10 goals, eight assists, and 18 points in 30 games) don’t compare well to Toffoli’s 12 goals, nine assists, and 21 points in 27 games. But with the season only 64 days young – perhaps the story is of a similar theme to the 2023-2024 Calgary Flames as a whole: one of dark horse positivity and eventual redemption.