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Odd Market Hurdle Almost Squashed Tyler Toffoli to Jets Trade

The Winnipeg Jets almost didn’t land Tyler Toffoli at this season’s NHL Trade Deadline. What nearly got in the way of the deal?

A trade that was lauded as one of the best of this season’s NHL Trade Deadline was one that almost didn’t happen. According to Darren Dreger of TSN, Tyler Toffoli was shocked to learn about the Winnipeg Jets’ interest in him and had to give joining the Jets a double take. It was also reported that the Devils practically ignored the Jets until the final hours of the deadline.

During an interview with Flames Nation on the Barn Burner show, Dreger said, “I don’t think that there would have been a player more shocked than Tyler Toffoli was that he was going to Winnipeg.” Dreger added, “He did not see that coming.”

Knowing that he was likely on his way out of New Jersey, Toffoli reportedly didn’t have a clue that the Jets were making a push for his services. And, to be fair, the Jets weren’t really on any insider lists until the day of the deadline. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff made a last-minute push and was able to secure the coveted winger by paying a third-round pick (2024) and a second-round pick (2025). The Devils agreed to retain 50% of Toffoli’s contract in the trade. But, it took some time to finalize the deal.

Dreger says Cheveldayoff didn’t even know that he was going to get Toffoli. He tried but the Jets’ GM was having a hard time making a deeper connection with Fitzgerald and he wasn’t getting a “whole lot of love” from the Devils. At that point, he felt he was out of the running. But, when the market died down, the Jets were back in. The Devils were a bit disappointed that the market softened like it did.

It’s not clear why the market softened. When you consider the salary Toffoli carried a $4.25 million cap hit and was highly productive, he was already a bargain. To get him for $2.125 million and not have to give up a first-round pick was a bargain price.

Tyler Toffoli Jets trade almost didn’t happen

Toffoli Came to Like the Idea of the Jets

Dreger said that Toffoli took a close look at the roster and decided that it might be a good fit for him. He realized the Jets had many of the pieces needed to be a contender and figured he could actually fit in quite well based on what the roster had. “So, I think when he came to terms with it, he was like, alright, I can see how I would fit there.”

Next: Two Last-Minute Deals Explain Maple Leafs Deadline Day Moves

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