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Toffoli welcomes return to California to help usher in new Sharks era


Tyler Toffoli is looking forward to staying in the same place for a few years. 

Signing a four-year contract with the San Jose Sharks as a free agent on July 1, the veteran forward has spent the past several years of his career frequently on the move.

After being drafted in the second round by the Los Angeles Kings in 2010, Toffoli spent eight years in the organization, winning a Stanley Cup in 2014. In 2020, he was dealt to the Vancouver Canucks at the trade deadline.

Since then, Toffoli has had short stints in Montreal, Calgary, New Jersey and Winnipeg. He welcomes going back to the state where he started his career and the knowledge that he’s likely to stay in one place for more than two seasons.

He had 33 goals and 55 points in 79 games split between the Devils and Jets last season. 

“It’s awesome,” said Toffoli of his return to California. “It’s one of those things we got the opportunity to sign a contract that we signed and couldn’t say no.

“It was a nice deal for me so I could have a little bit of trade protection this time so I’m not getting moved around at the deadline. Hopefully I’m staying put here for a few years and we’ll see what happens later on.”

The 32-year-old has been traded four times in his career at the trade deadline. 

After finishing last in the NHL standings in 2023-24, the Sharks have been busy trying to fill out their roster with veteran players to surround their incoming youth, led by No. 1 pick Macklin Celebrini. 

Along with Toffoli, the Sharks claimed forward Barclay Goodrow off waivers, signed centre Alexander Wennberg as a free agent and traded for defenceman Jake Walman. Captain Logan Couture and defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, both career Sharks, also remain in place. 

San Jose has a number of important prospects in their organization that are expected to be key cogs of their future, including forwards Will Smith, William Eklund and Kasper Halttunen, as well as defenceman Sam Dickinson.

Celebrini is the main piece after a strong freshman season at Boston University, where he had 32 goals and 32 assists in 38 games, becoming the youngest winner of the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top men’s player in college hockey.

“You can tell he’s extremely explosive and skilled,” said Toffoli of Celebrini. “It’s one of those things where there’s going to be a lot of pressure on him. From what I’ve heard and what I understand, he treats the game in a professional manner and he’s a pro already, so I’m excited to get on the ice with him and move forward with that.”

Toffoli understands what his role will be in San Jose, helping the younger players while still being able to contribute on the ice.

“That’s my goal personally is to show up and work every day, trying to help the win games and obviously [Celebrini is] going to be a big part of it and a big part of the Sharks future.”