Trade season is officially upon us: Montreal Canadiens send Tyler Toffoli to the Calgary Flames
(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
After a historically bad start to the season, Montreal is seemingly calling it quits and throwing in the towel for what will certainly start a lengthy rebuild up in Canada's Sin City.
On Monday afternoon, the Montreal Canadiens sent star winger and their best goal scorer in Tyler Toffoli to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a 2022 first-round pick, 2024 fifth-round pick, center Tyler Pitlick, and prospect Emil Heineman.
Toffoli is in his second season of a four-year, $17 million contract that he signed with the Habs in October of 2020 as an unrestricted free-agent. Toffoli missed upwards of eight weeks starting back in December after he had surgery on his hand, which is the reason for his underwhelming numbers so far in the 2021-22 season.
Since returning to action on January 18th, Toffoli hasn't missed a beat, scoring 9 points on 5 assists and 4 goals in 11 games played, bringing his season total to 26 points on 17 assists and 9 goals.
In my opinion, the Calgary Flames won this trade. Toffoli is only 29-years old, on a team friendly contract for a player of his caliber, someone who can play on the power play and the penalty kill unit, and a guy who is an effective and consistent scorer, the exact type of player that the Flames were in the market for.
I'm not implying that Montreal was robbed in the trade, however, because this is a great deal for both teams.
Toffoli is coming onboard in Calgary here in the second half of the season as the team sets their sights on returning to the playoffs. After missing the postseason last year -- a season in which they were expected to be Western Conference contenders -- the Flames are bouncing back with a vengeance, as they sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 58 points, just one point behind the Vegas Golden Knights.
With the addition of Tyler Pitlick, Montreal is now home to the three Pitlick brothers: Tyler, Rem, and Rhett, who is a prospect in the Canadiens system.
Just one season after making a Stanley Cup Final appearance, the Montreal Canadiens are sitting in dead last in the NHL, with a league low in goals per game, point percentage, and regulation losses. Montreal also sits bottom-five in the league in power play percentage, penalty kill percentage, and shots against per game.
One has to think, did the Canadiens just overachieve last season? Many speculated that the Habs wouldn't have even made the playoffs had it not been for realigned divisions and a shortened regular season, but it's hard to predict something that didn't happen. It probably doesn't help that they're missing future hall-of-fame goaltender, Carey Price, who is most credited for carrying Montreal through the playoffs and into the Cup Final in 2021 with his outstanding performance. Price has yet to make his 2021-22 debut, as he still tries to return from a knee injury.
Could we possibly see Price on the move too come the March 21st trade deadline? Depending on how his rehab is progressing by then, it could be very likely.
The fact of the matter is, here in 2022, we are witnessing a historic collapse, and it might be a long time until we see the 24x Stanley Cup Champion, Montreal Canadiens, compete for a title again.