The Vancouver Canucks answered a slate of bad news delivered by fate with a bit of good news delivered themselves.
Just as they found out star sniper Brock Boeser would be out of the lineup with a rib injury — which will apparently keep him sidelined for the rest of the year — the Canucks faithful learned longtime Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli would be heading to Vancouver.
GM Jim Benning added Toffoli to the fold Monday, sending forward Tim Schaller, a second-round pick and forward prospect Tyler Madden to California in return.
It was no less of a whirlwind for Toffoli himself, as the 27-year-old was on track to suit up for the Kings’ Tuesday-night tilt against the Winnipeg Jets when he found out he’d been traded.
“We flew into Winnipeg and then I found out around probably 7, and then jumped on a flight at 9 o’clock,” Toffoli told Randip Janda and Dan Riccio on Sportsnet 650’s Reach Deep Tuesday. That said, the deal didn’t come as a total surprise to the winger.
“Obviously you hear the rumours, and it is what it is. I kind of thought something was going to happen, and my agent had called me saying that things picked up a little bit, and it kind of happened an hour later. So, I was kind of expecting it, but at the same time you can never prepare for it.”
While swapping his Pacific Division allegiance is sure to be an awkward process in the short-term, it’s not blanket unfamiliarity in Vancouver for Toffoli. The move does reunite him with former teammate Tanner Pearson, with whom he and Jeff Carter played as the popular ‘That 70s Line’ during their Kings days together.
“We’ve been texting a little bit the past week or so — obviously we both heard the rumours and we were just kind of chatting about it and laughing at the same time, (about) if it were to happen,” Toffoli told the Reach Deep crew. “And now it’s here — we kind of laughed it off this morning, and then went to work.”
The three-time 20-plus-goal-scorer will get his first taste of action in a Canucks sweater on Wednesday night as Vancouver takes on the Minnesota Wild, likely slotting in on the right side of Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller to form a potentially potent offensive trio.
Though his former Kings sit dead last in the West, Vancouver currently ranks third in the Pacific, and locked in an absurdly close race between a few on-the-bubble Western teams. But Toffoli’s no stranger to the pressure and grind that come with late-season hockey, having been part of the Kings team that slogged through three seven-game series in 2014 before topping the New York Rangers in six to claim the Stanley Cup.
His team’s won just one playoff game since that 2014 glory, giving Toffoli a poignant lesson to share with his green teammates.
“Honestly, just don’t take it for granted,” he told Janda and Riccio. “I think I know obviously from experience that one season you can be winning the Stanley Cup, and then two years later, or the year after, not even make the playoffs.
“So, (I’m) just going to bring that and have them play the right way and do the little things that go a long way. If we can do that, we can win games, and that’s when the real hockey starts and that’s when the most fun is.”
Listen to Tyler Toffoli’s full interview on Sportsnet 650’s Reach Deep via the audio player embedded within this post.