Tyler Toffoli

What NHL scouts, coaches think about new Sharks Toffoli, Wennberg

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Sheng Peng will be a regular contributor to NBC Sports California’s Sharks coverage. You can read more of his coverage on San Jose Hockey Now, listen to him on the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast, and follow him on Twitter at @Sheng_Peng.

It is obvious what Tyler Toffoli and Alexander Wennberg can bring on the ice to the Sharks.

But what they bring off the ice, especially to youngsters like William Eklund and Will Smith and hopefully Macklin Celebrini, appears to be just as important to the Sharks.

Multiple NHL sources — including three scouts, an executive, and a coach, none with San Jose — shared outside perspectives about the newest Sharks.

(Hint: They love Toffoli!)

Toffoli, 32, was signed to a four-year, $24 million contract with a full No-Trade Clause on Monday. That’s the richest total and per-season contract that the Sharks have ever handed out to an outside free agent.

Toffoli is coming off a 33-goal campaign, his third 30-goal and eighth 20-goal season. The right-hander immediately becomes the Sharks’ go-to scorer.

“Not a great skater but puts himself in the right spots. Solid add,” Scout No. 1 said. “Good veteran who can score. Needs a play-driving center to get him the puck.”

Playmaker Mikael Granlund, or hopefully, Celebrini, should be able to feed the right-hander on a consistent basis.

Toffoli should also be the perfect role model for Celebrini, Smoth, and company, and that’s no exaggeration.

“He’s a pro,” one league source said.

“Toffoli is a really good guy. Lots of fun. Will be good for the young kids,” an executive said.

“Great room guy,” Scout No. 2 said.

“He's the best guy ever,” Scout No. 3 said via text. “Awesome HUMAN for the young guys to be around.”

For the Sharks, deficient in both scoring and leadership last year, short of maybe stars Steven Stamkos or Jake Guentzel, there might not have been a better free-agent option than Toffoli.

So while four years and a full No-Movement Clause might be rich for the 32-year-old sniper, the Sharks have plenty of cap space in the immediate future. There’s nothing more important for San Jose’s future than taking some of the burden off Celebrini and Co.'s shoulders right now.  

Hopefully, Toffoli can keep scoring — we know that he will keep leading.

Wennberg, 29, was signed to a two-year, $10 million contract. He has a full No-Trade Clause in the first year of his deal, and a limited NTC in his second year.

The 6-foot-2 center reached the 20-assist mark for the seventh time in his career this past season with the Seattle Kraken and New York Rangers. He’s responsible defensively and has excelled both on the power play and penalty kill.

“Smart 200-foot center and playmaker. Mostly a distributor rather than a shooter. Good size and reliable in all three zones. Good pick-up for the middle of your lineup,” Scout No. 1 said.

“Really good defensive center, athletic and skilled, should be able to play against other team’s top lines,” Scout No. 3 said.

That said, Wennberg might leave fans wanting more.

“Really talented player,” the exec said. “Lacks a lot of jam to his game.”  

“Skilled, but slightly soft,” a league source shared.

“Has top-six level skill and ability,” the coach said, of a pivot who’s settled into more of a third-line center role in recent years.

Regardless, Wennberg should be a very positive add-on and off the ice for the Sharks.

“Nice kid. Quiet,” the exec offered.

“Good guy,” a league source said.

“A good pro,” the coach said. “Will be good for kids once he gets comfortable in the room. A nice family guy.”

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