Forward Tyler Toffoli will make his Vancouver debut on Wednesday night when the Canucks host the Minnesota Wild.
Toffoli was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on Monday in exchange for forward Tim Schaller, the rights to center Tyler Madden, a 2020 second-round draft pick and a conditional 2022 pick to provide some offensive punch for the Canucks, who have been hit with a rash of injuries to their wingers.
Vancouver general manager Jim Benning announced Tuesday that Burnsville native Brock Boeser, tied for fourth on the team in scoring with 45 points (16 goals, 29 assists), will be sidelined for at least eight weeks with a rib cartilage fracture. He also said two other wingers, Josh Leivo, who fractured his right kneecap just before Christmas, and Micheal Ferland, who is dealing with concussion-like symptoms, likely will miss the rest of the season.
“I want to compete down the stretch here for a playoff spot,” Benning said. “Making this trade, that’s the message I wanted to send to our group going down the stretch here.”
Vancouver, which last made the playoffs in 2015, is just one point out of first place in a crowded Pacific Division behind co-leaders Edmonton and Vegas.
“We want to be competitive,” Benning said. “We wanted to show our players we can compete. We’re in the pack to make the playoffs. We needed to add scoring.”
Toffoli had 18 goals and 16 assists in 58 games with the Kings and scored a hat trick in Saturday night’s 3-1 victory over Colorado in the Stadium Series at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. He spent Tuesday’s practice skating on a line with leading scorer Elias Pettersson (58 points, 24 goals) and second-leading scorer J.T. Miller (57 points, 22 goals).
“I’m excited to be here, be in the race and to win some games,” Toffol said. “I’m very excited for this opportunity.”
Minnesota, which is seven points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, also has been busy making moves, trading popular forward Jason Zucker to Pittsburgh and then firing head coach Bruce Boudreau all within a five-day span.
Assistant Dean Evason took over for Boudreau on an interim basis. The Wild were shut out 2-0 by visiting San Jose on Saturday in his head-coaching debut as Martin Jones stopped 39 shots.
“The energy level, the feel in the room was really good,” Evason said. “If anything, we were squeezing it a little bit too tight.”
A three-day day break that included two practices gave the Wild a chance to reset before heading off on a two-game Dad’s Trip that concludes on Friday at Edmonton.
“He’s been positive and come in here with a great attitude,” forward Marcus Foligno told twincities.com about Evason. “I think the guys are really responding to what he had to say. I think the biggest thing he has preached is accountability, and that’s what it’s going to take to get over the hump.”
This is the third of three meetings between the two teams. Vancouver won the first one, 4-1, on Jan. 12, while Minnesota won the second, 4-2, on Feb. 6, with both games played at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn.
–Field Level Media
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