Three fits for Tyler Toffoli in the New Jersey Devils’ lineup
Alex Chauvancy highlights a few of the many options Lindy Ruff has for deploying the veteran sniper.
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By Alex Chauvancy (@AlexC_THW)
Tyler Toffoli was the New Jersey Devils' marquee addition this off-season, and who can blame general manager Tom Fitzgerald for targeting him?
He's coming off a 34-goal, 73-point season on a mediocre Calgary Flames team. Even though he's likely due for some regression, he will add more scoring up front.
The question is, where will Toffoli play in the top-6? And with who? Let's look at some possible fits for him in the lineup.
Jesper Bratt, Jack Hughes and Toffoli
This is the most obvious fit for Toffoli and one that I expect Ruff to give a look right when preseason games begin.
We know what Bratt and Hughes can do together; they posted an expected goals percentage comfortably in the 60s as linemates a season ago. They'll almost always dominate possession when together. As Erik Haula showed a season ago, Ruff doesn't always need to plug in a star player as the third cog on that line for it to succeed.
With that said, Toffoli's makeup makes him an ideal fit for Bratt and Hughes. Those two are the Devils' best facilitators, and since Toffoli isn't the best skater, having two players on his line who can do the hard work in transition would benefit him.
Once in the offensive zone, Toffoli is a high-volume shooter who creates plenty of quality scoring chances. Not only does he do it for himself, but he also sets up his teammates for grade-A opportunities. And when he does get the puck on his stick in a high-danger area, he usually converts on it.
With this trio making up one line, that should round out the top-6 with Timo Meier, Nico Hischier and Dawson Mercer. That would give the Devils a potent top-6, but Ruff will have other options for Toffoli.
Meier, Hischier and Toffoli
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