Six Trade Targets For The Maple Leafs Defence

I, for one, thought the Leafs were set on defense after having six guys who can play NHL minutes signed for this season before July 1 and the signings of offensive defenseman John Klingberg and injury insurance in Simon Benoit, who played top four for the Anaheim Ducks last season.

It’s not even Christmas, and injuries have piled up for the Maple Leafs and have seriously exposed what they have for blueline depth. It’s not much.

With Klingberg (hip surgery), Liljegren (ankle), and Giordano (hand) out, Toronto’s blue line depth is being tested.

Timothy Liljegren is back on the ice and skating well, but there is still a need for more defensemen, and that has been clear since losing Timmins in the preseason.

Is now an opportunity for a trade?

With Nikita Zadorov being traded to Canucks for a 3rd and 5th-round pick, it’s believed corresponding moves will be able to be made from this point forward. For Toronto, although Zadorov is considered a third-pairing defenseman, his RAPM numbers rock, and he’s also huge (6’6 248lbs), physical, and can skate. Hopefully Toronto can find what they need with one of these guys.

I’ve compiled a list of UFA’s and/or players on bad teams who have decent Regularized Adjusted Plus Minus (RAPM) stats (Corsi against, Expected goals against). Also, considering the contract price and length, we assume Klingberg is done for the season. I also added blocks/60/hots/60, and takeaways/60 because, in my experience, that’s a part of the defensive part of playing defence.

Trade targets :

Chris Tanev CGY
1 UFA 4.5m
6″ 2 193lbs RH
33 y/o 741 GP
Avg TOI 19:09

Last 3 5v5
44.65 CA%
45.25 GA%
43.51 xGA%
1.92 Hits/60
5.56 Blk/60
.96 Takeaway/60

There has been lots of talk of Teanev being linked to the leafs, and he is one of the best shutdown defenseman in the league. Clear First choice for most fans.

Ilya Lyubushkin ANA
1 UFA 2.75M
6″ 2′ 200lbs RH
29 y/o 303 GP
Avg TOI 17:04

Last 3 5v5
52.44 CA%
57.05 GA%
54.04 xGA%
7.71 Hits/60
4.83 Blk/60
1.02 Takeaway/60

Lyubushkin played some of his best hockey in Toronto and is an absolute weapon with his physicality, throwing a ton of hits. He was Enjoyed in his last Stint and even played with Morgan Rielly.


Sean Walker PHI
1 UFA 2.65M
6’2″ 191 lbs RH
29 y/o 256 Gp
Avg TOI 21:15

Last 3 5v5
45.49 CA%
54.54 GA%
49.67 xGA%
4.25 hits/60
5.08 blk/60
.86 Takeaway/60
(1.29 this year)

I’ve heard from multiple insiders that Walker isn’t high on the Leafs Target list, but he’s a good candidate if some of the bigger names go elsewhere.

Jan Rutta SJS
2 UFA 2.75M
6’3″ 204 lbs RH
33 y/o 313 Gp
Average TOI 18:37

20-21/22-23 5v5 no sjs
49.35 CA%
44.81 GA%
49.57 %xGA
4.28 hits/60
3.38 Blk/60
.34 takeaways/60

Jan Rutta has been BRUTAL in San Jose, but his numbers from the previous three years are fantastic, and he’s a Stanley Cup winner. Something lacking in the leafs dressing room.

Matt Dumba ARI
1 UFA 3.9M
6Ft 181 lbs RH
29 y/o 620 GP
Avg TOI 20:00
Last 3 5v5

52.43 CA%
53.8 GA%
50.78 xGA%
4.27 Hits/60
3.76 Blk/60
.56 Takeaways/60

Many believed Toronto was in on Matt Dumba when Free agency opened but ultimately opted to go for John Klingberg when Dumba’s asking price was out of the leafs range. He then signed a one-year deal in Arizona at a number Brad Treliving surely would have paid him before he signed Klingberg. The problem here is Arizona has been good in a bad central division and is currently in a playoff spot. Not likely to be moving players at this point, but if the start to slump, look for this guy to be on the move.

Nick Seeler PHI
1 UFA 775k
6’3” 197lbs LH
30 y/o 259 GP
Avg TOI 17:07

Last 3 5v5
51.83 CA%
48.08 GA%
51.78 xGA%
6.39 hits/60
7.46 Blk/60
.42 Takeaways/60

This is a guy is only ever heard of before diving in and looking for players that would help the leafs. He’s big, he plays with an edge, hits everything that moves and gets in the way of pucks like they’re bullets, and the net is his baby. He’s left-handed and likely ideal for a 3rd pairing role, but his numbers are great; he’s having a successful season in Philidelphia, AND he only makes 775k. The Leafs could trade for him today and play him tomorrow with only minor corresponding roster moves.

Something’s gotta give at some point, so I think we see a move sooner rather than later.

Thank You ARI for the 65 Goal Scorer Leafs Late Night

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