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Steep acquisition price for Tyler Toffoli indicates win now mode for Canucks

Benning gave up prospect Tyler Madden, a second-round pick, and Tim Schaller.

2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series - Los Angeles Kings v Colorado Avalanche
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO - FEBRUARY 15: Tyler Toffoli #73 of the Los Angeles Kings reacts after scoring an empty net goal for the hat trick during the third period of the 2020 NHL Stadium Series game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Colorado Avalanche at Falcon Stadium on February 15, 2020 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Kings defeated the Avalanche 3-1.
Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Trade Jim was at it again, and it wasn’t even a Tuesday.

Joining the trend of other general managers getting their work done before the trade deadline, Jim Benning struck a deal with the Los Angeles Kings to acquire Tyler Toffoli from the Los Angeles Kings.

The Canucks gave up prospect Tyler Madden, a 2020 second round pick, a 2022 conditional fourth-round pick and Tim Schaller in the deal.

Toffoli, who turns 28 next month, led the Kings with 18 goals on the season after posting a hat trick against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night. He was rumoured to be on the block, but Benning snagged him with a week to go until the trade deadline on February 24th.

Analyzing Toffoli’s fit with the Canucks

The underlying numbers for Toffoli highlight a strong play-driving forward who’s been the victim of bad puck luck.

Perhaps his luck was beginning to turn prior to the trade. He had a hat trick on the weekend as mentioned previously, and now has six goals in his last nine games.

More importantly, Toffoli had obvious chemistry with Canucks forward Tanner Pearson. The two won a Stanley Cup together in 2014 while playing on one the best lines (with one of the best names) in hockey.

While their on-ice chemistry dwindled as centre Jeff Carter and the Kings fell from grace, they’ll likely be reunited in a top-six role alongside another similar centre in his prime, Bo Horvat.

Horvat’s line has been lacking a right-winger most of the season. Many expected Micheal Ferland to play on one of the top two lines, but his health put that rosterbation idea on hold.

As a right winger and a strong play driver, Toffoli could also find himself on the top line alongside Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller. That would allow Brock Boeser to slide into a second-line role.

Regardless, this Canucks offence, which is already eighth overall in goals scored, adds another 20-goal scorer without giving up much (sorry Timmy Schallz) off of the roster.

Benning pays the price for an exciting addition

Although the addition of Toffoli is tantalizing, there’s no doubt that Benning paid a steep price to acquire the forward.

Tyler Madden was recently nominated for the Hobey Baker award after his Northeastern team won the Beanpot. He had 37 points in 27 games in NCAA action this year.

Standing at 5’11” and 152 pounds (according to Elite Prospects), there was always going to be questions about his size. Of course, the same was said about Pettersson, but Madden is nowhere near the same level as the Canucks superstar.

Benning also gave up a 2020 second round pick in the trade. If the Canucks make the playoffs this season, they won’t have a pick until the third round of this supposedly stacked draft.

This trade will further be throw into question if the Canucks fail to re-sign Toffoli. His $4.6 million per year contract comes off the books this summer. As mentioned in other articles, the Canucks will have about $19 million, with pending free agents Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev, Troy Stecher, Jake Virtanen, Josh Leivo, Oscar Fantenberg, and now, Toffoli, to sign.

That’s going to be an interesting situation to watch unfold in the coming months. For now though, it’s going to be all about the playoff chase for the players, for management, and for fans.