New Jersey Devils forward Tyler Toffoli has been an exceptional fit with the team through his first 12 games, scoring eight goals and 13 points. It comes as no surprise, then, that the Devils would be interested in reaching an agreement on a contract extension for the forward, whose $4.25MM AAV contract is set to expire July 1st. Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald told NJ Advance Media’s Ryan Novozinski that he and Toffoli’s agent talk “all the time” regarding a contract extension, and while they’re “nowhere near that point of committing to term or dollar signs,” there appears to be mutual interest in finding a way to get a deal done.
Toffoli, 31, doesn’t exactly fit in the age bracket of the rest of the Devils’ stars, but he may still have some years of his prime remaining. The issue for the Devils could be cost, as another season with over 30 goals and 70 points would likely make Toffoli’s extension an expensive one, especially if the Devils don’t want to commit significant term. With Michael McLeod and Dawson Mercer pending RFA’s, cash could be tight for the Devils this summer. But when a front office and a player appear aligned on a desire to find a way to get a deal done, the possibility of a contract extension can never be ruled out.
Some other notes from the Eastern Conference:
- Various reports from Toronto Maple Leafs practice, including from The Hockey News’ David Alter, indicate that defenseman John Klingberg is facing some time in the press box as a healthy scratch, assuming defenseman Jake McCabe returns. Klingberg, who the Maple Leafs signed to a one-year, $4.15MM deal this past summer, has struggled as of late, particularly in last night’s game against the Ottawa Senators. While he has five points in 13 games so far, his production rate remains below what Dallas Stars fans grew to be accustomed to during his time there. While there remains hope that Klingberg can return to that form, his early struggles combined with the Maple Leafs’ overall issues in keeping the puck out of their net are a storyline to watch during this early portion of the 2023-24 season.
- With Klingberg’s struggles currently a hot topic in Toronto, some focus has been devoted to GM Brad Treliving’s offseason search for defensive help, and particularly what other options may have been available to Toronto. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the player Toronto “really wanted” on July 1st of last season was Matt Dumba, who eventually signed with the Arizona Coyotes. Friedman reports that Dumba’s camp was looking for a contract within the $5MM AAV mark, which is higher than what Toronto committed to Klingberg. With Klingberg struggling and Dumba playing nearly 21 minutes per night in Arizona (and leading the team in ice time on the penalty kill) one wonders if Toronto could re-engage their pursuit of Dumba, this time via a trade, should the Coyotes fall out of the playoff race.