Tyler Toffoli had mixed results after joining the Flames mid-season
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike5 months ago
Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving made a big swing a month before the trade deadline, acquiring Tyler Toffoli from the Montreal Canadiens on Valentine’s Day. Arguably the right shot offensive forward that the Flames had been trying to find for years, the player many fans call “Teapot” was able to score key goals at key times in the regular season but wasn’t able to do it as much in the playoffs.
A Scarborough kid, Toffoli came up through Toronto area minor hockey and made the jump to the Ontario Hockey League in 2008-09, landing with the Ottawa 67’s. He spent four seasons with the 67’s, including a pair of campaigns scoring 50+ goals and 100+ points.
Toffoli was a second round selection by the Los Angeles Kings, 47th overall, in 2010. He went pro in 2012-13, splitting time between the Kings and the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs. He finally made the Kings full-time in 2014-15, and carved out a niche for himself as a offensive-minded second line forward who could be used in a variety of different situations. He won a Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2014.
Toffoli bounced around a bit during 2019-20 and 2020-21. He was traded by the Kings at the 2020 trade deadline, landing in Vancouver. Then he signed as a free agent with the Canadiens in the 2020 off-season.
Toffoli split the 2021-22 regular season evenly between Montreal and the Flames, with 37 games played with each club. He had 26 points with Montreal and 23 points with Calgary.
Relative to the rest of the Flames’ regular forwards, Toffoli was one of the better players at generating shots but seventh or eighth at generating meaningful scoring chances – he got chances, but they weren’t quite in-close enough to be high-percentage chances. He also looked like he was labouring a bit at times late in the season – maybe it was due to injury, or maybe his cardio wasn’t quite top shelf after spending a few seasons away from Darryl Sutter. (A lot of Flames had this issue after Sutter was hired in 2020-21, so maybe a good off-season will get Toffoli back to his old self.)
With the Flames, Toffoli bounced between the second and third forward lines, but he found a good niche on special teams. He was a really reliable shooter from the left flank on the first power play unit. He also played here and there on the penalty kill, usually paired with Andrew Mangiapane when he did.
Toffoli had his worst performance from an expected goals perspective in a few seasons, and it showed up in his counting stats, too. He wasn’t a hindrance to his team, but his performance might best be personified by his playoffs. He was buzzing around a ton, but just couldn’t quite bury his chances. But if he keeps doing what he’s doing, and maybe makes a couple adjustments, he’ll probably start getting rewarded.
Toffoli turned 30 in April and the Flames have him under contract for two more seasons at a $4.25 million cap hit. He’s a pretty reliable offensive player who isn’t really bad at any aspect of the game. He’s probably best-suited in a complimentary offensive role – some of his offensive success at even strength is definitely a product of playing on deeper teams where his line wasn’t targeted with the hardest match-ups – but he’s in a situation with the Flames where he probably won’t need to ever be The Guy offensively.
For what he costs, what he is and what he can be, Toffoli is a very useful player for the Flames to have on their roster.
2021-22 Flames player evaluations
Johnny Gaudreau | Calle Jarnkrok | Matthew Tkachuk | Trevor Lewis | Jacob Markstrom | Dillon Dube | Elias Lindholm | Chris Tanev | Adam Ruzicka | Milan Lucic | Andrew Mangiapane
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