For the Montreal Canadiens, Tyler Toffoli is the gift that keeps on giving.
For Jim Benning, he’s the star in the nightmare he keeps reliving.
Strapped for cash due to years of salary cap mismanagement, not only did the Vancouver Canucks not re-sign Toffoli this offseason, they didn’t even offer him a contract. The Habs took advantage, signing him to a reasonable four-year, $4.25 million contract.
It was a contract that was always going to make the Canucks look bad, particularly when the likes of Loui Eriksson and Brandon Sutter have higher cap hits.
However, I’m not sure anyone could have foreseen just how bad it was going to blow up in Benning’s face. Because it couldn’t have been much worse.
Toffoli isn’t just having a good year with the Canadiens. He’s having a great season.
It began with Toffoli scoring a hat trick in his first game back in Vancouver in January. He went on to torch the Canucks for eight goals and five assists in the eight games he played against his former team.
The 29-year-old led the Habs in goals (28) and points (44) during the regular season. After the conclusion of the regular season, Toffoli wrote an article for the Players’ Tribune, in which he said he felt “rejuvenated” in Vancouver and spoke highly of the “incredible chemistry” he had with Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller.
“I could have seen myself finishing out my career there,” he said.
Toffoli now leads the Canadiens in playoff points (10) and is tied for the team lead in postseason goals (4) and assists (6) too.
On Monday night, the Habs’ sniper scored the game-winning goal in overtime to send Montreal to the third round.
We’re Canucks-focused here in Vancouver, but even people out-of-market took a moment to reflect on the Benning blunder.
Can you believe the Vancouver Canucks didn’t re-sign Tyler Toffoli, I mean what a totally mismanaged franchise
— The Royal Half (@theroyalhalf) June 8, 2021
I'm so sorry, Vancouver Canucks fans.
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) June 8, 2021
Toffoli’s name was trending on social media in Vancouver, while “Jim Benning” was one of the top trending topics on Twitter Canada-wide.
Canucks fans, of course, still aren’t over it.
Does any other team's GM trend on Twitter as frequently as Benning does? Because I'm going with no.
— Andy Cole (@AndyCole1984) June 8, 2021
lmfao it is hilarious that Jim Benning is trending right now
— nobody (@petbugs13) June 8, 2021
Remember when we couldn’t keep him because we needed to sign Virtanen or something https://t.co/OlynaLFkUy
— JBrown (@ThatJBrown) June 8, 2021
Jim Benning has had more assists in these playoffs than Marner and Matthews combined
— Nav Dosanjh (@NavDosanjh1983) June 8, 2021
People will be talking about Canucks letting Toffoli go decades from now like we do now with Cam Neely.
— Taj (@taj1944) June 8, 2021
Jim Benning might look back in 20 years and say letting Tyler Toffoli walk was his biggest mistake….and that’s saying a lot.
— Chris Conte (@ChrisConte79) June 8, 2021
Tyler Toffoli now has 32 goals and 22 assists for 54 points in 63 games since Jim Benning decided he wasn’t even worthy of a contract offer. #Canucks
— Grady Sas (@GradySas) June 8, 2021
If Tyler Toffoli wins a Stanley Cup this year with the Habs, he should send a muffin basket or something to Jim Benning
— Matt P (@paliontology) June 8, 2021
fire benning go burrows
— vyas saran (@vyassaran) June 8, 2021
jim benning muting the words tyler toffoli on his timeline as we speak
— clarissa! (@quinnsedgework) June 8, 2021
I'm excited it's only going to be 2 more years until we see Benning's Canucks play exciting playoff games. 9 year plan!!!!!
— 9 Year Plan Agressive Peter (@Peteisneat) June 8, 2021
If I was tofolli I would text the Vancouver gc “did y’all watch the game” and turn off my phone
— local discorce fan (@capslibra) June 8, 2021
Toffoli scores the OT winner that sends the Habs to the final four! Check it out Jim Benning!
— Drew Livingstone (@ProducerDrew_) June 8, 2021
Should Jim Benning receive a Stanley Cup ring if the Habs win the Cup?
— Taj (@taj1944) June 8, 2021