The Vancouver Canucks are the latest team to acquire a forward ahead of the trade deadline. The Penguins and Lightning both made big moves in the Eastern Conference to acquire forwards with Pittsburgh landing Jason Zucker and Tampa Bay adding Blake Coleman. In both of those trades, the team acquiring the player shipped out a first round pick and a top prospect.
Vancouver followed that blueprint albeit at a slightly smaller scale. They landed Tyler Toffoli from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a second round pick, NCAA prospect Tyler Madden, depth forward Tim Schaller, and a conditional 4th round pick that the Kings only receive if the Canucks re-sign Toffoli who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
The other big difference between this move and the recent ones by the Pens and Bolts is that Toffoli’s contract expires after this season. Pittsburgh and Tampa both traded for players with term left on their deals, which makes the cost of the trade more palatable. The Canucks went the more traditional route of landing a player headed to free agency.
Toffoli is a good player. He struggled to contribute to scoring with the Kings but his shot and expected goal impacts are among the very best in the NHL. If he was better at translating those impacts into goals, he’d be a high end first line forward. Instead, he’s more of a middle six contributor on a good team.
Much like the Lightning acquiring Coleman, a good team adding Toffoli makes a ton of sense. He’s exactly the kind of player contending teams should want in the middle of their forward group. The question is whether the Canucks are contenders.
A look at the standings would suggest yes. They currently sit in third place in the Pacific Division just one point behind the leaders but also just one point ahead of the fifth place team. But a look under the hood suggests the bottom could fall out for them at any point. They’re currently 25th in the NHL in expected goal share at both 5v5 and in all situations. Toffoli will help with that but the questions is how much.
This deal holds some relevance for the Lightning because the pick they sent to New Jersey as part of the Coleman deal was the conditional first round pick they got from Vancouver for JT Miller. The addition of Toffoli makes the Canucks more likely to make the playoffs this year, which in turn makes it more likely the Devils will get the Canucks pick this summer. That would be comforting for the Lightning front office as it would remove the risk of that pick turning into an unprotected lottery ticket in 2021.
Lightning Org News
The Lightning pulled off a big road win over the Colorado Avalanche last night to set a new franchise record with an 11 game winning streak. The Bolts head to Vegas next to play one of the hottest teams in the league. Check out Matt’s quickcap for a rundown on the game.
A franchise milestone was made this evening as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 in overtime to extend their winning streak to eleven games. It wasn’t an even effort from the Lightning, but thanks to a strong second period and the heroics of Nikita Kucherov the Lightning took down an explosive Avalanche team.
Add Braydon Coburn to the list of injured defenders for the Lightning. He left practice early on Monday and head coach Jon Cooper said he’s day to day with a lower body injury. Speaking of injured defenders, Ryan McDonagh and Jan Rutta both traveled with the team on the road trip. Rutta skated after practice in Colorado. While returns aren’t imminent, these are all signs that both players are headed in the right direction in their recovery from lower body injuries.
Zach Fucale who has played games in Syracuse and Orlando this year is headed overseas for the remainder of the season. He was on an AHL contract, which the Crunch agreed to terminate. Fucale was caught in the unusual depth the Lightning have at the position after acquiring Mike Condon as part of the trade that sent Ryan Callahan’s contract to Ottawa during the summer.