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If price too high for Guentzel, Canucks could trade for Toffoli instead

"Some think the Penguins want Höglander and Lekkerimäki."
Tyler Toffoli could be reunited with the Vancouver Canucks at the 2024 NHL trade deadline.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. That could be the motto for both the Vancouver Canucks at the 2024 NHL trade deadline and Tyler Toffoli in Vancouver. 

The Canucks have taken aim at the biggest name on the trade market in Jake Guentzel, a two-time 40-goal scorer. They've reportedly attempted to get creative to make it work, discussing a three-way trade that would see the recently-acquired Elias Lindholm flipped to the Boston Bruins

Those efforts might have come up empty, however, as the asking price for Guentzel is just a little too rich for the Canucks' blood. 

"There was a rumour of that three-way deal — I don't believe that's the case. You know, Guentzel, [Jake] DeBrusk, and Lindholm — I don't think that's going to happen," said Elliotte Friedman on the Jeff Marek Show on Thursday. 

According to ChekTV's Rick Dhaliwal, that asking price could have included a young roster player and the Canucks' top prospect.

"Clearly, the price is very high. Canucks are having a tough time coming up with the assets to get this deal done," said Dhaliwal on Thursday. "Some think the Penguins want [Nils] Höglander and [Jonathan] Lekkerimäki."

Guentzel was always going to cost the Canucks a lot, even as a rental, but the Canucks have no interest in giving up Lekkerimäki in a trade and should be reluctant with the team's top 5-on-5 goalscorer in a season where they're aiming for a long playoff run. If that's the asking price, it's understandable that the Canucks would balk.

"Here's the problem the Canucks have: the prospect pool after those two guys I just mentioned, it's not appealing to many teams, including the Penguins," said Dhaliwal. "If the Canucks are going to get Guentzel, they're going to have to go to a package they're very, very uncomfortable with."

That might mean the Canucks are out entirely on Guentzel, though things can change rapidly at the trade deadline. But if they're out on Guentzel, that just means they're going to look elsewhere for the top-six scoring help they desire.

"Vancouver, look, I think they tried on Guentzel. I don't think that they believe they can win it but they tried," said Friedman. "I think they're going to be one of the teams that's in big for Toffoli. They know him. Now that Toffoli's available, I think there's going to be a few teams that look at this. I think they're going to be one of them."

Toffoli may not be a two-time 40-goal scorer like Guentzel, but he's still a reliable point producer with proven chemistry with J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson from his previous stint with the Canucks. Toffoli had 10 points in 10 games after being acquired from the Los Angeles Kings in 2020, then 4 points in 7 playoff games while dealing with an injury.

This season, Toffoli has 26 goals and 44 points in 61 games with the New Jersey Devils, good for first on the team in goalscoring. He's a year removed from a 34-goal, 73-point season with the Calgary Flames. 

While Toffoli certainly represents a drop in quality from Guentzel, he's the next best winger on the market. The Canucks believe that their biggest need on the roster is another top-six forward and Toffoli could be their best option. The issue is, the Canucks won't be alone in pursuing Toffoli.

"The price on Toffoli is going to be big. All those teams that couldn't get Guentzel are going to move over, just like Vancouver, to Toffoli," said Dhaliwal. "New Jersey's going to sit back and they're going to love it because there's going to be a big bidding war for Toffoli."

If the Canucks miss out on both Guentzel and Toffoli, their options will grow slim. They're reportedly been looking at Jason Zucker, but Zucker has just 9 goals and 25 points for the Arizona Coyotes this season. Aiming for Guentzel and winding up with Zucker would be a significant disappointment for the Canucks at the trade deadline.