Jeff Gorton is looking to add more north-south type players to this highly skilled lineup. There is one such forward who has fallen out of favor with his current team and is only 27 years old. Tyler Toffoli of the L.A. Kings is a winger that could fit that bill and the Rangers may already be interested.
Aside from what I just mentioned, Toffoli could come on the cheap being that he is not utilized by L.A. as he used to be. His ice time is down and he is a UFA at the end of this season, so he is a rental. I can already see you scratching your head while saying, “why would the Rangers trade for a UFA during a rebuild?”
Toffoli is the final year of a contract that has a 4.6M AAV and there hasn’t been too much speculation about his demands. The prevailing thought is he’s looking for a multi year deal around the 7M range. It should also be noted that Toffoli is a full year younger than Kreider.
Here’s the view from 30,000 feet, Toffoli is everyone’s plan B if they can’t work out a deal for Chris Kreider at the deadline. If the Rangers find themselves teetering for a playoff spot and decide to trade Kreider, taking that option for teams off the table increases Kreider’s value. Also if the Rangers want to make the playoffs, a player like Toffoli actually makes them a whole lot deeper and better.
Here’s the best part, if it doesn’t work out the Rangers will then have the top two most sought rentals to trade at the deadline. And one more plus, the Bruins and Penguins who are both contenders in the East will be looking at both of them. This is a win-win for the organization.
When looking at Toffoli, you will find his numbers are nearly identical to Kreider’s but people still consider CK20 the top trade target with Taylor Hall off to Arizona. Here’s their numbers from Hockey-Reference.
Toffoli is the type of player that would be a solid third line addition with the ability to slot on the 2nd line if needed. He is a guy who likes to play in the corners, and stand in front of the goalie. The best part of Toffoli’s game is he can kill penalties and provide a little more skill on the 2nd PP unit than Brendan Lemieux. If the Rangers can land him, there is nothing but upside.
What a Toffoli deal could look like
The Kings are going into a full rebuild and looking to stock their team with young players. While they would obviously want a 1st rounder, maybe the Rangers can entice them with a former 1st round pick, 7th overall in Lias Andersson. Of course, that’s not going to be enough since not a single one of you would trade Kreider for Andersson. So Jeff Gorton is going to have to maybe throw in another mid to top level prospect. Or, what about Andersson and Alex Georgiev for Toffoli? Gorton is going to have to present the Kings quite a few different flavors before a deal can get done.
Here’s what we know, Gorton is looking for a player like Toffoli and Andersson wants out. Shesterkin isn’t going to wait forever in Hartford. We also know the Rangers are scouting the Kings for a trade. So if something isn’t brewing at the moment, it may be as soon as the holiday trade freeze ends.