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Career Year Possible if Toffoli Sticks with Huberdeau

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Photo: Captured by Flames TV

Tyler Toffoli says he feels better than maybe he ever has. And frankly, the 30-year-old could be looking at a career year with the Calgary Flames.

He had a hell of a season with the Montreal Canadiens two years ago. He was part of a deep playoff run following a COVID-shortened NHL regular season. With 28 goals and 44 points in 52 games, and another five goals and 14 points in the run to the Stanley Cup final, Toffoli was back in the discussion as one of the league’s more natural finishers.

Pro-rated over an 82-game season, those add up to 44 goals and nearly 70 points. With the Vancouver Canucks at the tail end of another interrupted season, he had six goals and 10 points in 10 games after being traded by the Los Angeles Kings.

He struggled out of the gate last year. Looking rejuvenated early in his time with the Calgary Flames after a deal made close to the NHL trade deadline, he fizzled down the stretch and into the playoffs.

But Toffoli’s time in Calgary so far hasn’t featured a linemate the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau.

Last year’s NHL assist leader is lining up on the opposite side of Toffoli to open training camp. And with Elias Lindholm in the middle, prop bets on Toffoli cracking 30 goals this year for the first time since 2016 might be climbing.

Toffoli says he’s excited about this group of players and feeling refreshed after a rejuvenating summer following an early second-round playoff knockout. And a normal training camp with the same guys he finished last season with.

“Honestly, selfishly, that’s the first summer I’ve kind of had, in four years almost, to come into camp have kind of got that little edge back, and that excitement,” Toffoli said Friday at the Saddledome. “(I’m) feeling as good as I’ve kind of ever felt, so excited for the opportunity.”

Huberdeau is the kind of setup man to get excited about.

Lindholm sang his praises in conversation with Ryan Dittrick of the CalgaryFlames.com content crew on Thursday.

It’s pretty clear what he brings to the table,” Lindholm said of Huberdeau. “He’s so smart, so skilled, and he passes the puck better than almost anyone in the league. He makes it really easy for his linemates out there. You can tell it won’t be too hard to start (developing) some chemistry together.”

Lindholm finished with a career-high 42 goals last year playing with setup sensation Johnny Gaudreau. So did Matthew Tkachuk. Toffoli and Lindholm will be put in a position to do the same with Huberdeau if these lines stick.

“He’s a great skater. He’s a big guy. (Lindholm) and I right now are just trying to get into games and have the opportunity to play with such a great player,” Toffoli said.

“He likes to make plays, and make those plays in tight areas. And I think his year last year kind of speaks for itself. So just being able to get the opportunity to kind of start with him …  then try not let it slip.”

No disrespect to the guys he played most of his time with last season, but Huberdeau is as elite a playmaker as there is.

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