What’s next for Tyler Toffoli’s Calgary Flames career?
Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
7 months ago
There’s no other way to describe Tyler Toffoli’s 2022-23 season without using the word “best” in almost every context. He scored a career-high in goals (34), assists (39), and points (73). Not only did he score tons of goals, but he scored plenty of them during times when the Calgary Flames needed them the most, like in the game against the Dallas Stars, where he scored a buzzer-beating game-winner to keep the team’s playoff hopes alive.
But the point of this article isn’t to recap his season. We already had a great report card written here at FlamesNation about the right-winger by Robert Munnich. The point is to focus on the player’s future because, at this early point of the off-season, there isn’t much to back up whether or not he (and others) will want to stay by the time his contract is up.
Toffoli sitting on a relatively cheap deal is both a blessing and a curse for the Flames. He’s being paid $4.25 million per year with one year left (2023-24) before potentially heading to free agency in the summer, and considering the direction of the Flames, there’s a good chance that they choose not to re-sign him.
Rumours have circulated that some players under contract won’t want to come back if Darryl Sutter is still the head coach. The merit to those rumours is still unknown, but if they are true, it could lead other people to not come back down the line as well, like Toffoli.
The Flames have to make decisions with the players who have one year left on their deals like Toffoli. He’s one of seven Calgary players with one year left in their contract term, and he’s one of the more productive of the bunch. Not to mention, he’s a leader in the locker room, and with winning experience under a Sutter system, where the coach can be notably rigid and unfeeling towards players, he is extra valuable to the intangible part of the game.
First, the Flames have to find a new general manager. Then, they can move from there. However, interim GM Don Maloney should still be thinking about the team’s future with guys like Toffoli. The value for a player at his age may never be higher.
It would be an unfortunate scenario to see the Flames move on from Toffoli. He has only played 119 games in Calgary, but sitting at 96 total points, he has made a tangible impact on the scoreboard and in the locker room. If other teams come calling, management may be forced into action earlier than they anticipated, or at the very least, the thought of moving on will cross their minds. The answer will come with time, and without a full-time general manager, it’s hard to decipher which way the Flames will be trending by the start of next regular season.
However, decisions with a player like Toffoli are paramount to the team getting on the train tracks heading one direction or another. If they’re going to sell, they should sell early so as not to potentially compromise his value.
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