Toronto Maple Leafs: Defense Options Could Be Slim at Trade Deadline

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in need of a defenseman before the trade deadline and if they don’t jump on one now — they might not get one.

After the news of Cody Ceci going to the IR (possibly to LTIR) and Morgan Rielly already being on LTIR, it gives the Toronto Maple Leafs some needed cap space before the playoffs.

$6.5 million to be exact, according to CapFriendly.

Kyle Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs could be running out of time with just two weeks remaining until the deadline.

A few teams look to be on the hunt for a defenseman before February 24th after some of their defensemen have been injured.

The Calgary Flames (Mark Giordano), Columbus Blue Jackets (Seth Jones), Tampa Bay Lightning (Ryan McDonagh) and technically, the Winnipeg Jets (Dustin Byfuglien).

Whether or not some of these teams make a splash is unknown, but they may be actively looking and that’s a problem for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

I doubt the Flames and Lightning are engaged at this point, but with the playoffs on the line for the Blue Jackets and Jets, there could be a deal made soon for both teams.

(For the Jets, they will have to terminate Byfuglien’s contract first).

To make matters worse, the Minnesota Wild’s top defenseman (a trade target for the Leafs) might not go anywhere after all.

According to Michael Russo of The Athletic, the Wild are looking for a first-round draft pick, a prospect and a centre for Matt Dumba.

Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs obviously won’t make that trade because they don’t have a first-round pick until next year’s draft.

That slims the market for a defenseman down even more, unless Minnesota wants a pick in the later rounds, plus a roster player and Jeremy Bracco.

Toronto still has a lot of players to choose from, though.

Josh Manson of the Anaheim Ducks is still a defenseman they could pursue. Alec Martinez is another name on that list who could be available, if the Toronto Maple Leafs want to make a trade with the L.A. Kings again.

There’s also Dylan DeMelo of the Ottawa Senators, who’s a UFA after this season, I should note.

I see the Toronto Maple Leafs pursuing Manson out of the three options. His age (28), term (two years after this season) and contract value ($4.1M) are check marks on the list.

There has been word that the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking for a defenseman with term and with his age — Manson clearly fits that role.

Next: Toronto Maple Leafs Roundtable: Which Player Would You Trade For?

At this point, nobody knows what Dubas is up to. He could have a surprise up his sleeve, but he won’t act until he gets news on Rielly and Ceci’s injuries, and how serious they are first.

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