Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler Toffoli was simply excellent for the Calgary Flames in 2022-23
10 months ago
If Calgary Flames wanted to continue their success from the 2021-22 season, they were going to need a few of their forwards to step up and help replace some of the scoring left behind by Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk.
Only one player stepped up to the plate and had a huge offensive season. That was Tyler Toffoli.
Let’s dive into his first full season in Calgary.
Toffoli had his best statistical season of his 12-year NHL career. He produced 34 goals and 39 assists, good for 73 points. He led the Flames in scoring by nine points (Elias Lindholm was second with 64 points).
Toffoli was the Flames most dangerous player at both 5-on-5 and the power play as he led the team in scoring in both situations. He led the team on overtime winning goals and was tied for first in game winning goals. He did all that while ranking 6th among Flames forwards in average ice time per game.
|Average Time on Ice
(Stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick)
One of the most impressive numbers is the Flames outscoring their opposition 58-37 with Toffoli on the ice at 5-on-5.
Toffoli ranks in the top 3 in nearly every underlying statistic on the Flames among 12 forwards to play more than 300 minutes.
The only disappointing thing about Toffoli’s season is that his teammates were not able to elevate their play to the level that he did throughout the course of the season. Toffoli stepped up and had a great season why many of his Flames teammates were unable to do the same.
The eye test
Toffoli is not the fastest player. He is not the flashiest player on the ice. But what he lacks in speed he makes up for in smarts and his shot.
He was the one guy on the team who made scoring goals look easy. And Toffoli was always in the right position which allowed him to score goals in a lot of different ways. He could score from the left circle on the power play. He could score on breakaways. He can score dirty goals around the net. He truly was a jack of all trades in that regard.
Without Toffoli playing the way he did this season; they Flames would probably be in the Connor Bedard lottery conversation and not fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot in the last week of the season.
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What’s next for Tyler Toffoli?
Toffoli is one of the seven key Flames players who will become an unrestricted free agent next offseason. The 31 year old did express some interest in returning to Calgary on a long term contract extension during his exit interviews with the Flames media contingent.
What should the Flames do with Toffoli? Like the other seven 2024 UFA’s, there are three options.
1. Re-sign Toffoli this summer
Toffoli has talked about how much he loves playing for the Flames and head coach Darryl Sutter. He has been a very good player during his short stint in Calgary and has been a leader on and off the ice. As of right now there aren’t a lot of key players who have made it known that they want to play in Calgary long term. Maybe it’s a good idea to get Toffoli signed as he is someone who could be a great representative and champion of the Flames organization. The main issue with this is Toffoli is coming off a career year and is on the wrong side of 30. He already is not a good skater as it is. A long-term contract for Toffoli might cause trouble to your cap situation in the future if he declines the way others have at his age.
2. Trade Toffoli before the 2024 trade deadline
This would be the smartest move from an asset management perspective. Now is the best time to sell high on a 31-year-old coming off a career year who has a modest cap hit of $4.25M. The Flames are not going to win a Stanley Cup with their current roster. So why not sell high on a guy like Toffoli and bring in a couple high end draft picks to start rebuilding your depleted prospect pool?
3. Hold on to him until the 2024 offseason and see what happens
This is exactly what the Flames should not do. But based off the comments of John Bean last week, it sounds like the Flames want to bring this group of players back for another kick at the can. Maybe they wait and see what type of season Toffoli has and try to sign him in the summer of 2024. If things don’t work out Toffoli could walk himself to free agency and the Flames could lose him for nothing.
Toffoli was the Flames team MVP in the 2022-23 season. He carried the offensive load and willed the Flames to victory on some nights. And that’s great. But is he someone that you want to commit to long term? That’s the question that Don Maloney and the new Flames GM will have to answer this summer.
Overall grade: A+
What did you think of Tyler Toffoli’s 2022-23 season with the Flames? Let us know in the comments section!
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