Maple Leafs Defensive Trade Target Should Be Andrej Sekera


The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to be in nearly every rumor from here until the trade deadline – that’s just the way it is.

Let’s look at two defensive trade targets that the Maple Leafs have been rumored to be involved in and one they should really be after.

I’m using Cody Franson as the base defender for the Maple Leafs because, simply put, he’s the best one they have.

Franson leads the Maple Leafs blueline in SCF60 (scoring chances for per 60 minutes TOI) with 29.3. He’s second on the team’s rearguards in CF% with 46.1% – if you prefer Fenwick over Corsi then he ranks first in FF% with 47.3%.

Franson – along with partner Dion Phaneuf – lead the Leafs defenders in TOI Competition% at 29.7 – meaning they play the highest quality of competition of Leafs defenders.

He also leads the Leafs blueline in goals, assists, points, powerplay goals and powerplay points. See where I’m going with this? Yeah, he’s their best player on defence.

The oft-rumored defenders in the group will be Zach Bogosian and Keith Yandle. The actual trade target the Leafs should be looking at is Andrej Sekera.

Let’s start with a good old fashioned chart from

This chart is showing us is that Franson starts in the offensive zone the least and faces the toughest competition out of our three trade targets.

It also shows that Keith Yandle gets the most offensive zone starts and faces the weakest competition of the bunch. So we could assume that Yandle will most likely have the highest CF% and Franson the worst.

That last statement is partly true. Chart time again.

Franson does have the worst, but Yandle isn’t the best. It’s Andrej Sekera – who plays tougher competition than Yandle and is significantly closer to Franson in the category.

This chart also shows us that Sekera is ahead of both Bogosian and Yandle in scoring chances for per 60 minutes TOI. The Hurricanes defender is starting to pull away from the group.

I’m ready to cut Yandle from the target list. He’s behind Bogosian and Sekera in CF%, SCF60, TOIC% and is the most sheletered with offensive zone starts. That’s all aside from the fact he would be the most expensive of the three to acquire – which doesn’t really interest me either.

And then there were two.

Bogosian and Sekera – as shown in the first chart – are relatively the same in their competition. Bogosian does start in the offensive zone nearly 4% more than Sekera, though.

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Possession is where Sekera separates himself from the Jets defender. His 5v5 Corsi For Percentage of 52.8% is nearly two percent better than Bogosian’s 50.9%.

So who plays on the better possession team in general? Bogosian does. The Winnipeg Jets score-adjusted corsi of 52.8 trumps Sekera’s Hurricanes SAC of 50.9.

So not only does Sekera hold the edge in almost every individual category – he’s doing it on a worse possession team than Bogosian is. He’s also the cheapest acquisition of the bunch.

Last, we get down to age.

Bogosian is 24 while Sekera and Yandle are 28. Is Sekera that far ahead of Bogosian to lessen the impact of four years? For that I’d turn to health. Sekera is a healthier player than Bogosian – he doesn’t come with the recent injury history. It also doesn’t help Bogosian that he’s barely over 50%CF playing on a significantly better possession team than Toronto.

Andrej Sekera should be on top of the Leafs radar – to acquire and sign to an extension – to improve the blueline.