3 Right-Handed Defensemen Toronto Maple Leafs Should Acquire

WINNIPEG, MB - JANUARY 3: David Clarkson #71 of the Toronto Maple Leafs is taken down by Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Winnipeg Jets in first period action in an NHL game at the MTS Centre on January 3, 2015 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)
WINNIPEG, MB - JANUARY 3: David Clarkson #71 of the Toronto Maple Leafs is taken down by Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Winnipeg Jets in first period action in an NHL game at the MTS Centre on January 3, 2015 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images) /
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DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 26: Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Winnipeg Jets celebrates his third period goal while paying the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on October 26, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Winnipeg won the game 2-1.(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 26: Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Winnipeg Jets celebrates his third period goal while paying the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on October 26, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Winnipeg won the game 2-1.(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

#1. Dustin Byfuglien

A little over a month ago, the Winnipeg Jets terminated Dustin Byfuglien’s contract and he became an Unrestricted Free Agent.

At the time of the divorce, I wrote that the Leafs should sign Byfuglien and still believe that he is the most attractive player to pursue.

Health and motivation are the two most important factors when it comes to “Buff” and if he’s in the right mindset for both, he would be a perfect addition to the Leafs blue-line.

At 35-years-old, there’s no reason to believe that he doesn’t have at least two or three more years left in the tank to attempt to lift another Stanley Cup and be an important piece for a contending team.

If his health and motivation aren’t there right now, Byfuglien will at least have the luxury of time to get back to normal. It feels that the 2020-21 season won’t start until at least January, 2021, so starting now, he would have six months to get his body back in game-shape and prepped for next season.

Not only would he be a great addition to the line-up, but the team wouldn’t have to trade anything to acquire him. The Leafs don’t have a ton of cap-space, I’m sure they would be happy to clear space if Byfuglien wanted to play in Toronto.

As a second-pairing defenseman, he wouldn’t be asked to play 25 minutes a night like he used to in his prime, but instead be a mentor and provide stability alongside someone like Rasmus Sandin or Travis Dermott.

The Leafs are fortunate to have two quality defenseman already in Morgan Rielly and Jake Muzzin, but with a healthy and motivated Byfuglien as the third option, the Leafs would have one of the best top-four defenses in the NHL.

Next. 4 Other Defensemen the Leafs Could Trade For. dark

It’s obviously unknown whether or not he wants to play hockey again, but with a void to fill on the right-side of the defense, Byfuglien could be a key piece in Toronto finally making noise in the playoffs.