Friedman: Bruins know they’ve got a deal for Toffoli ‘in their hip pocket’

Matt Kalman
January 10, 2020 - 4:44 pm

Ever since Taylor Hall was traded by New Jersey to Arizona last month, focus has turned to New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider, who like Hall can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

If the Rangers make Kreider available, the 6-foot-3, 216-pound left-handed shot would inspire a legion of suitors, including the Boxford native’s hometown Bruins.

But Sportsnet NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, talking about Kreider on 31 Thoughts: The Podcast with co-host Jeff Marek, isn’t so sure the Rangers are going to move the 28-year-old Kreider.

“My opinion is changing almost on the day on Kreider,” Friedman said. “Because I’ve had guys tell me that they think the Rangers are starting to think more and more about do they keep him.

“And again this will all play out over the next six weeks, but you get rid of him, it’s hard to replace.

“You know they’re starting to get some things going offensively. Their top couple of lines have some chemistry. Now I think one of the biggest things is: how much is [Mika> Zibanejad going to cost them?”

Although Friedman didn’t get into price, one would imagine that Kreider, who has 14 goals and 15 assists in 43 games this season, will bring the Rangers a steep one – probably a prospect and a high draft pick to begin.

A player that might come a little cheaper is Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli, who has 12 goals and 15 assists in 45 games this season. The 27-year-old would also be a rental, and the 6-foot, 197-pound right-handed shot is on a scoring pace close to his 24-goal 2017-18 season rather than his 13-goal 2018-19 campaign. But his down season last year might diminish his trade value.

Friedman thinks Bruins general manager Don Sweeney can get Toffoli, if he’s not traded somewhere else, any time they want.

“I’ll tell you this, I do think Boston, if they wanted to, could do a deal for Toffoli almost at any time. I think they know they’ve got that in their hip pocket,” Friedman said. “So the question is: do you do that or do you wait for Kreider?”

Toffoli’s would probably still cost a contender a high draft pick or a high-level prospect, especially considering he’s of little use to the Kings, who are in full rebuild mode. Whereas the Rangers are competitive every night and might be thinking they can accelerate their return to contention by keeping Kreider.

The NHL trade deadline is Feb. 24.

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