Tyler Toffoli had three more points Tuesday in the Flames’ 5-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. It was for the former winger of the Canadian of a ninth point in his last four games.
Toffoli is one of the few bright spots in Calgary this winter. He had the best season of his career with 65 points, including 29 goals, in 72 games, a production of 74 points and 33 goals over a full season of 82 games.
The 2022 late first-round pick for Toffoli saw Filip Mesar drafted 26th overall. Montreal also got 21-year-old winger Emil Heineman and a fifth-round pick in 2023. Heineman has just joined the Laval Rocket for the final stretch of the season after the elimination of his Swedish first division team.
Mesar, a 5-foot-10 right-handed center whose career on the wing is now being considered, had an interesting training camp with the Canadiens, but we would have expected a higher production in the junior ranks given his professional experience in Slovakia in the previous two seasons.
He had 49 points in 50 games in Kitchener, an average performance for a 19-year-old first-round pick. Mesar nonetheless did well at the World Junior Championship.
Heineman, meanwhile, offered an offensive performance similar to that of the previous season at Leksands, that is, 15 points, including 8 goals, in 35 games. The quick and dynamic 6-foot, 194-pound left winger was relegated to the fourth line in the Swedish playoffs.
In an optimistic scenario, we see him as a possible third-line winger. He joined Laval and not the Canadiens, a clue to his status in the organizational chart, at least for now.
At first glance, therefore, Kent Hughes and the Canadiens have traded to the Calgary Flames a scorer of 30 or more goals for two prospects whose future in the NHL is not yet determined. Will they have lost the deal if Mesar and Heineman don’t break through?
We must look at this exchange from another angle. Hughes reminded colleague Pierre Lebrun this week that it would take another two or three years before the Canadian aspired to the playoffs on a regular basis.
Toffoli was an interesting forward when he was sent to Calgary, but he was approaching his thirties (he will be 31 next month) and will be granted full free agency at the end of the following season in July 2024.
Whether he scored 30, 40 or 50 goals this year in Montreal would not have changed anything, since the Canadian chose to suffer for a few years to rebuild better. Montreal will be better served in the long term by a top-five pick, and a prominent place offered to its youngsters in the roster, than by a (vain) attempt to approach a playoff spot.
He wouldn’t have been offered a long-term deal at 32 with such a young core heading into the 2024-25 season.
Perhaps Mesar and Heineman will be a disappointment, but it is obviously still too early to decide, especially in the case of Mesar.
In a context of reconstruction, a manager must nevertheless amass the maximum amount of assets with a long-term perspective, even if some of these do not give satisfaction. In short, collect as many darts as possible knowing that some will not hit the target.
Drafted 33rd overall, the first of the second round, with his own choice, the Canadian got his hands on Owen Beck, a prospect more promising in appearance than Mesar for the moment.
Beck plays center, he’s bigger, and he eclipsed all the rookies in training camp. He had 41 points in 30 games in Mississauga before being traded to Peterborough, where his performance declined significantly nonetheless.
The young man nevertheless did well at the end of the World Junior Championship where he was called in to replace an injured man (at only 18 years old) and he even had the right to an NHL game with the Canadiens during a recall. emergency.
The link between Beck, Mesar and Toffoli is not trivial. If the CH does not get this late first-round pick from the Flames, Beck might not be in the Montreal organization today.
Mesar might indeed still have been available at No. 33 and be the Canadiens pick with that second-round pick; Beck probably wouldn’t have been available with CH’s next pick at No. 62.
Thanks to the additional choice of Calgary, Montreal was able to acquire two darts instead of two, Mesar, Beck and a certain Lane Hutson at the end of the second round. Time will tell which ones will be assets when Montreal becomes competitive, somewhere in 2024 or 2025.
Jonathan Quick was dumped in a somewhat cavalier fashion at 37 by the Los Angeles Kings on the eve of the trade deadline, after fifteen years of service and two Stanley Cups.
He went from a Cup contender to one of the worst in the NHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets, with a 2023 first-round pick for defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and a younger, more successful goaltender, Joonas Korpisalo. .
But Quick was lucky in his bad luck as he was picked up the next day by one of the Kings’ main rivals, the Vegas Golden Knights, for a modest seventh-round pick.
Quick won its fifth win in six games on Wednesday to become second in career wins for an American goaltender (375), ahead of John Vanbiesbrouck. He could edge Ryan Miller (391) if he plays another season.
The Golden Knights’ newest goaltender doesn’t have stellar stats, with his 2.98 GAA and .906 save percentage, but he does provide Vegas with experience and stability.
The Kings do not regret the exchange, even if it was not very chic on a human level. Korpisalo, 28, is 3-0-1 since joining, with a 1.96 GAA and .921 save percentage. Los Angeles is 7-2 since the arrival of Korpisalo and Gavrikov, two rental players.
Quick would no doubt dream of facing the Kings in the first round of the playoffs, but he will have to wait for this project to come true. Los Angeles or Vegas will finish first in the Pacific Division and face a fourth ace club, Seattle or Winnipeg. Second round maybe?