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Canucks Tried to Keep Toffoli, Didn’t Clear Space In Time [Report]

Reports suggest the Vancouver Canucks were in the midst of clearing cap space to keep Tyler Toffoli when he jumped to Montreal Canadiens,

The fact that forward Tyler Toffoli left the Vancouver Canucks for the Montreal Canadiens wasn’t out of a lack of a desire by the Canucks to keep Toffoli in the fold. In fact, at the time Toffoli agreed to a deal with the Habs and gave a big boost to Montreal’s forward group, the Canucks were apparently trying to make room for him.

Related: Sending Eriksson to AHL Not an “Easy Fix” for Canucks

According to Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre, Canucks GM Jim Benning was in the process of trying to clear cap space via trade before forward Toffoli jumped to the Canadiens in NHL free agency. Once it was learned that Toffoli was leaving, placing a priority on that cap-clearing move dropped. Instead, Benning went to work on improving his blue line.

MacIntyre writes:

Benning prioritized upgrading the top four on defence over maintaining his top six forwards. But it leaves [Travis] Green one less weapon to work with when he returns next season for the final year of his contract.

There is talk the Canucks and coach Green are working on a contract extension and to help his bench boss, there is speculation Benning might still be looking to move salary and add a notable free agent. Considering the Canucks didn’t add anything to their top six forward group and there are certainly outstanding questions when it comes to the health of Micheal Ferland, Green would likely love some additional skill up front.

Tyler Toffoli NHL Free Agency
Tyler Toffoli NHL Free Agency

What Was the Trade Benning Was Trying to Do?

It’s hard to know what player or players Benning was trying to move to make the Toffoli deal possible. Loui Eriksson would be the logical assumption but that trade would have been extremely difficult to pull off.

And, considering the cost associated to adding Nate Schmidt from the Golden Knights, it’s hard to imagine where the extra money will come from if Ferland doesn’t hit LTIR.

Next: Real Reason Jets Signed Stastny Wasn’t To Keep Patrik Laine [Report]

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