Tuesday evening, the night before the NHL Draft, multiple reports broke out that the New Jersey Devils acquired winger Tyler Toffoli from the Calgary Flames in exchange for Yegor Sharangovich and a third-round pick in this year’s NHL Draft.
The trade was a fleece! Yes, I’m not afraid to say it, an absolute fleece! I’m so confident with what Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald has done that I don’t even want to waste any more time. Let’s dive right in with three reasons this is a massive win for the Devils.
Devils Fleece Flames for Tyler Toffoli
Who is Tyler Toffoli?
Toffoli is a 31-year-old top-six right-shot winger who can really rip the puck and play off the rush. He is a well-above-average goal scorer who also ranks in the 93rd percentile with in-zone exits. For the Devils, he is the perfect fit for what they’re looking for, it almost seems like a perfect marriage.
Per data from CapFriendly, Toffoli has a projected WAR% (Wins Above Replacement Percentage) of 91%. He has an Evolving Offense of 85% and an Evolving Defense of 73% with his finishing coming in at 87%. The guy is a playmaker in many facets of the game who will really give the Devils the scoring boost they’re looking for. You can also get used to seeing Toffoli on the power play where he’s going to feast on goalies in the Devils system.
Toffoli was so good for the Flames last season, his totals were higher than his previous season. He averaged 0.93 goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five and finished with 34 goals and 73 points.
The Devils can now trot out a top-six of Meier-Hughes-Mercer and Bratt-Hischier-Toffoli giving both lines very capable scoring options. There’s no question the Devils are a much better team with Toffoli now in the mix.
The Trade Package
When reports were originally swirling that the Flames may be shopping Toffoli, the assumed return on assets seemed to be much more than what the Devils seemed to have given up.
For a player of Toffoli’s caliber, coming off a career season on a sub $4.5 million contract, I would’ve expected the Flames to fetch Yegor Sharangovich, the Devils 2025 first-round pick (their 2024 first-round pick was used in a conditional trade for Timo Meier), and an A or B level prospect. Let’s say, Seamus Casey.
Instead, the Devils were able to land Toffoli for only RFA Yegor Sharangovich and a third-round pick. The free third-round pick was acquired in the Damon Severson sign-and-trade only a week or so ago. Sharangovich and the Flames haven’t even kicked tires on contact talks yet. This isn’t a scenario where we see a sign-and-trade to get more value in assets coming back the other way.
This was strictly a fleece from Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald. We’re talking about giving away a player who had a 16-point drop-off (Sharangovich) and a free third-round pick for a guy who the coach of the Montreal Canadians called “captain material”.
Toffoli will bring leadership and added experience to the Devils. He has 733 games under his belt, 227 goals, and 239 assists, for 466 points.
A very interesting piece that makes Toffoli so attractive is his contract situation. He has a year left on his contract before he becomes a UFA (Unrestricted Free Agent), but he has a cap hit of $4.25 million with a base salary of only $3.5 million.
In his 2021-2022 season, Toffoli totaled 20 goals and 29 assists for 49 points. This past season, Toffoli’s stats spiked to 34 goals and 39 assists for 73 points. His increase in production makes his contract situation much more appealing.
One could argue that Tom Fitzgerald and the New Jersey Devils have won the offseason so far to this point. We aren’t even to the NHL Draft yet and Fitzy seems to have made plenty of positive moves to better the team. I have full confidence that Fitzgerald will keep making the right decisions to better the Devils’ chances of becoming cup contenders for many years to come. Get ready Devils fans, it seems next season is going to be a heck of a ride.
Main Image: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports