Montreal Canadiens: Red-hot Tyler Toffoli already going down as best offseason addition

Tyler Toffoli #73 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Tyler Toffoli #73 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Tyler Toffoli is already proving to be the steal of the offseason for the Montreal Canadiens.

Having hit Free Agency following a quick cup of coffee with the Vancouver Canucks in 2019-20, Tyler Toffoli signed a four-year, $17 million contract with an AAV of $4,250,000 with the Montreal Canadiens during the offseason and, so far, it has proved to be a match made in heaven.

Needing to add a scoring punch to his team, particularly coming off the wall, Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin identified Toffoli as one of his main offseason targets, with the forward hitting Free Agency as a UFA after 10 points (6 G, 4 A) in 10 games for the Canucks during the 2019-20 regular-season, in addition to four points (2 G, 2 A) in seven postseason contests.

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Now, it was baffling at the time that Canucks General Manager Jim Benning opted to not re-sign Toffoli given his success in a short amount of time coupled with the fact that the franchise gave up an absolute monster package to the LA Kings for Toffoli, including high-end prospect Tyler Madden and a 2020 Second-Round pick, and it is even more baffling in the light of what has happened in the opening few weeks of the 2020-21 season.

Because, making a plethora of big moves in the offseason in order to turn the Montreal Canadiens into a legit contender, Bergevin’s best move could well be signing Tyler Toffoli to a four-year deal and the forward is already looking like the absolute steal of the offseason after absolutely lightning it up for the Canadiens to start the 2020-21 season.

Tyler Toffoli (73)
Montreal Canadiens right wing Tyler Toffoli (73). Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports /

Tyler Toffoli proving to be the signing of the offseason for the Montreal Canadiens

Spearheading what has been a potent Montreal Canadiens offense that ranks first in the NHL in Goals For Per Game (4.40), Tyler Toffoli has really found a home in Quebec and he’s been front and center for a team that has been an absolute juggernaut in the North Division.

They improved to 7-1-2 on the year after beating the Vancouver Canucks 5-3 on Tuesday, a game once again dominated by Toffoli. After lighting the lamp in a dominant 6-2 win on Monday, Toffoli again haunted the dreams of his former team by absolutely putting on a clinic last night.

He recorded two goals and tallied a primary assist on Jeff Petry‘s third-period goal for a three-point night, making it eight goals and three assists for 11 points against the Canucks this season, which is a large percentage of Toffoli’s entire points total of 13 this year against a team that could have retained him in the offseason. Yep, not the smartest of moves by the Vancouver Canucks.

However, Vancouver’s loss is very much the Montreal Canadiens’ gain and Tyler Toffoli showed on Tuesday night why he was such an important offseason addition for this team. He showed off his elite skill and his hand-eye coordination with his first goal of the night after redirecting Joel Edmundson‘s shot from the point past Thatcher Demko to give Montreal a 3-1 lead.

Toffoli’s second goal and ninth of the year was more impressive, though, with the right-shot skating in and pulling off a filthy move to absolutely bamboozle a Canucks defenseman before shifting to his backhand and lifting the puck over the shoulder of Demko and into the top corner. It was an absolutely beautiful goal and it highlighted the forward’s considerable strengths and the kind of game-changing skill that Marc Bergevin felt his franchise needed to stock up on.

Even Toffoli’s assist on Jeff Petry’s empty-netter late in the third-period highlighted his importance to this team with the winger flipping the puck in the direction of Petry who did the rest and there is no downplaying just how big an impact Tyler Toffoli has had on the Canadiens. They are the best team in the North Division in every possible way and appear to have both the talent and the depth needed to make a deep postseason run, and they have a player in Toffoli who can not only score goals and make game-changing plays but also play in all situations, log time on the power play and the penalty kill and make a sizeable impact in all three zones.

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So, while the Buffalo Sabres signing Taylor Hall and Alex Pietrangelo going to the Vegas Golden Knights dominated the offseason headlines, there is no doubt that Tyler Toffoli is already proving to be the steal of the 2020-21 season so far and he’s had the biggest impact on his new team with the Montreal Canadiens looking every inch an absolute juggernaut in the NHL. Their marquee signing has fitted right in and his scoring punch, along with his ability to make huge contributions all over the ice, are proving to be the perfect ingredients in what has been an impressive recipe for success so far this year for the North Division leaders.