The house cleaning continues in Montreal.
On Monday afternoon, the Montreal Canadiens took yet another step forward in their ongoing scorched-earth rebuild, trading winger Tyler Toffoli to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a first and fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, prospect Emil Heineman, and forward Tyler Pitlick.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Canadiens will not retain any of Toffoli’s $4.25 million cap hit that runs through this year until 2023-24.
In Toffoli, the surging Flames paid quality assets for an effective and affordable top-six winger, who will now be added to a lineup with legitimate postseason aspirations.
Toffoli is not merely a half-season rental, either. The 29-year-old has three years left on his current deal at an extremely reasonable rate, and despite playing on one of the worst teams of the salary cap era, has somehow managed to still rack up 26 points in 37 games this season.
It’s not a stretch to assume that Toffoli will get a tad more help from his teammates in his new digs. And with him now likely to be slotted in alongside Johnny Gaudreau or Sean Monahan, the sky’s the limit for the Scarborough native as he attempts to help lead the Flames over the playoff hump.
On the Montreal side of things, the Habs continue their plight of stuffing more draft capital and assets into a cupboard that is already overflowing.
Factoring in the haul arriving from Calgary today, and the Canadiens are set to enter the 2022 draft – of which they will host at the Bell Centre, for dramatic effect – with 12 picks in total, including two firsts (possibly three, depending on if they meet the conditions on the 2022 first-rounder dealt to Arizona in September that could revert it back to them), three thirds, two fourths, and two sevenths. That’s quite the haul. And considering how one of those picks could end up being first-overall, managing to nab Calgary’s first as well in exchange for a player who likely doesn’t fit the timetable of their rebuild actually makes a lot of sense.
In Heineman, the Canadiens add a prospect with some size and a splash of skill to a well-regarded pipeline. The kid won’t blow anyone away. But at just 20 years old, Heineman’s developmental trajectory seems to line up quite well with the realistic trajectory of Montreal’s contention window.
Picked in the second round of the 2020 draft by the Florida Panthers, Heineman was dealt to Calgary at last year’s deadline in the trade that brought Sam Bennett to the Sunshine State, and will now be joining his third organization in just two post-draft seasons.
Despite the constant movement, though, Heineman has performed quite well during his time playing for Leksands of the SHL, sitting with 11 goals and 16 points in 36 games thus far this season.
Heineman may not be a blue-chip prospect. But there is a chance that he rounds into a decent contributor for the Canadiens down the line, and, by then, they’ll actually need it.
Looking at the needs of both parties involved, it seems as if today’s swap should make all sides happy.