Tyler Toffoli gets a two-year deal from the Los Angeles Kings, but they still have a lot of cap problems.
Tyler Toffoli was obviously an offseason priority for the Los Angeles Kings, even with their cap crunch. He was signed today to a two-year contract by the Kings, carrying an average annual value of $3.25-million per season. Toffoli turned 23-years old in April, and managed 23 goals and 49 points in 76 games last season. He’s also known for being part of the second line for the Kings with Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson that did so well for them in their most recent Cup run.
Los Angeles has the problem that including Slava Voynov (and his domestic violence case is far from resolved), the Kings have nine players signed for at least four more years, all with an annual average value of over $4-million or more. Anze Kopitar is also a free agent at the end of next season. This is a short-term Band-Aid for Los Angeles, but there is still a lot of long-term work to be done.
Toffoli had to come back for Los Angeles. This is a team that is in the bottom-third of the NHL in scoring per 60 minutes at all strengths over the last three years, and finished 18th this past season. The team has long been built on good puck movement and retrieval, hard work, and limiting the opposition’s chances. They have gotten into problems when they can’t score, though. Seeing that Toffoli has the same goal rate at five-on-five that Jeff Carter does over the last two years, he’s integral moving forward.
The problem of course comes in a couple years if he keeps developing like he’s shown so far. This is a guy that could pass 30 goals as soon as next season, and a couple of back to back years like that means a big payday come 2017. The Kings are just buying some time here, and Toffoli still has to perform.
For fantasy, with Justin Williams gone, Toffoli should see an increase in ice time. Playing just 14:35 per game last year, if that can creep to 16 minutes, he could crack 25 goals without improvement anywhere else. Assuming that means Toffoli stays locked into a top-six role all year, he’ll be playing with either of Kopitar or Carter, and getting to at least 30 assists seems like a good base. Even an extra 100 or so minutes total next year could give us a 25 goal, 30 assist season from Toffoli.
There’s more upside beyond those 55 points, though. Los Angeles is a team that will finally be getting a rest. After so many deep playoff runs, this could be a welcome break for the Kings. There is still a lot of talent in the top half of that roster so if Toffoli cracks 30 goals and 60 points next year, assuming a full season, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least.
What helps Toffoli in fantasy is that he can stuff peripherals. He approached two and a half shots a game, and could approach three next season with more ice and a bit of general improvement. He can carry a stellar plus/minus as well.
I see Toffoli as safely inside the top-50 forwards next year in a one-year league. I’m fairly high on him in general, and with the team around him, he can improve on last year fairly easily. A big improvement from him on the power play would be huge for his value. He only has nine power play points over the last two seasons, and if he can even get to double-digits this year, it would help his cause a lot.
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