Toffoli Trade Analysis

There you have it. Kent Hughes has made not one, but two moves in the last couple of days. The first one was out of necessity, acquiring veteran goaltender Andrew Hammond for minor leaguer Brandon Baddock. This move allowed the Canadiens to send struggling goaltending prospect Cayden Primeau back to Laval as both Carey Price and Jake Allen are injured.

However, his second trade was major, and one that’s not unanimous amongst the fan base. Hughes sent Tyler Toffoli packing to the Calgary Flames for forward Tyler Pitlick, forward prospect Emil Heineman, a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft (top-10 protected), and a fifth-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

“We’re excited to bring in Tyler,” Calgary general manager Brad Treliving said. “He’s a Stanley Cup winner. To me, he’s a top-six forward in this league. He’s a proven scorer in this league. He can touch every part of the game — 5-on-5, power play, penalty kill — and with the pedigree that he has, I think he’s going to be a great addition to our team, so it’s a good day today.”

Since joining the Canadiens, Toffoli has been the team’s most productive player offensively.

CATEGORYSTATSTEAM RANK
Games Played895th
Goals371st
Assists334th
Points701st
Points per Game0.791st
EV Goals232nd
PP Goals111st
PP Points182nd
SH Goals31st
SH Points41st
Game Winning Goals52nd
Shooting %14.31st
TOI per Game (fwds)17:313rd
Takeaways/60 mins1.534th

Toffoli was also second on the Canadiens behind only Nick Suzuki in most offensive categories in their playoffs’ run last summer. With a cap hit of $4.25 million for two more seasons and the fact that he was productive and had great chemistry with Suzuki, many fans are questioning this move.

Assessment

There are three questions that come to mind:

  1. Why now and not in the summer when more teams could bid for Toffoli’s services?
  2. Why him first when there are others who should be more pressing?
  3. Why so little return considering his production? Couldn’t we hope for at least a blue chip prospect?

As always, I took time away to let the news sink in instead of going with an emotional reaction. But hours after the trade, my conclusion is the same: Emil Heineman better be a darn good prospect! I’ve read someone compare him to Artturi Lehkonen. If that’s the case, the Canadiens didn’t win this trade. The Flames are considered Stanley Cup contenders so in my opinion, the odds are that the first round pick will be in the 25-32 range. A fifth? Yes, there are players picked that late that make it to the NHL but they are few and far between. It’s a shot in the dark.

With all of that being said, I will do as I always do and hope that others do the same. I will give Hughes (and Gorton) the benefit of the doubt. But I’ll tell you one thing: if Tyler Toffoli is traded without thinking twice, don’t expect to see many of the current veterans back with the Habs next season. It will be a blood shed.

More reading…

NHL Insiders Trade Baits: Gauging Habs’ Interest

The Marc Bergevin Era Inheritance – Part Two

The Weber and Subban Trade Final Assessment