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Playoff experience a key element in Canucks’ addition of Toffoli

Tyler Toffoli brings an element to the Vancouver Canucks that the team has been lacking — experience in the post-season.

Toffoli has played 47 post-season games, which ranks him fourth on the Canucks behind Jay Beagle (85), Alex Edler (65), and J.T. Miller (61).

“I think there’s a lot to like about him,” Canucks head coach Travis Green said. “He’s played over 500 games in the NHL, he’s won in the NHL, and he understands how to score and how to win.”

READ MORE: Canucks acquire Tyler Toffoli from Kings

For general manager Jim Benning, the timing of the trade was crucial to staying in the race following serious injuries to forwards Brock Boeser and Micheal Ferland.

“That’s why we made this move,” Benning said. “I think it’s been good for our young players to see as you come down the stretch how hard the games are, and the playoffs are even harder.”

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Benning alluded that taking the young core to the next level means playing meaningful games as the season comes to a close.

Toffoli comes from a rebuilding L.A. squad to a Vancouver team that hopes to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in four years.

“It definitely makes me a lot more excited… to be here in the race is something I don’t want to take for granted,” said Toffoli, who won a Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2014.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin surprise kids at Vancouver ice rink
Henrik and Daniel Sedin surprise kids at Vancouver ice rink

The team currently sits in third place in the Pacific Division, just one point from the top but also only one point away from being on the outside looking in.

The move also brings an element of familiarity to the locker room for former Canucks forward Tanner Pearson, who was Toffoli’s teammate in L.A.

“It’s no secret that we’re really good friends,” Pearson said. “We didn’t like each other very much in junior, but lo and behold we started playing with each other in Manchester (L.A Kings AHL Affiliate).”

Pearson and Toffoli started off as rivals in the Ontario Hockey League playing junior hockey — Pearson for the Barrie Colts, and Toffoli for the Ottawa 67’s.

“I remember him slashing me in the chin in junior,” Toffoli joked. ‘I don’t want to say too much and hurt his feelings over there.”

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Following their play as youngsters, the pair were teammates for parts of seven seasons in the Kings organization.

Toffoli, 27, has already matched his point total from last season of 34 (18 goals, 16 assists) in 24 fewer games and is just five goals off his career-best.