Who Should the Toronto Maple Leafs Pursue in Free Agency: Roundtable

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 3: John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs steps onto the ice before the first period of the home opener against the Montreal Canadiens at the Scotiabank Arena on October 3, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 3: John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs steps onto the ice before the first period of the home opener against the Montreal Canadiens at the Scotiabank Arena on October 3, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – FEBRUARY 22: Dylan DeMelo #12 of the Winnipeg Jets.. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – FEBRUARY 22: Dylan DeMelo #12 of the Winnipeg Jets.. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Philip Van Riesen

As every hockey fan is aware of, the Toronto Maple Leafs Leafs biggest weakness is found on right defense. It almost feels as if the media has been talking about the right defense problem for the entirety of my life.

This unconventional season seems to come with one of the best UFA/free agency classes of underrated defensemen that can play the right side.

The most notable and likely the most expensive at the same time is TJ Brodie from the Flames whom the Leafs have shown interest in the past for and who is a solid top-4 guy any way you look at things.

Kevin Shattenkirk makes it at number two on the list as a potential target who is not talked about enough, especially considering he had a stellar season in Tampa Bay.

Based on some projections it would seem he would get a large pay raise after only signing for the near league minimum with Tampa, but his name seems under the radar and a bargain deal could be possible and while worthwhile.

Tim Heed comes again as a UFA option similar to a year ago today as a cheap option to sign, he probably isn’t the solidified top-4 defensemen that many may want but he seems to bring a good amount of value for what his contract will probably project to be.

Dylan DeMelo, my personal favourite option is coming off another strong season of playing on the top pairing with Ottawa and being one of the few bright spots on that team. He is severely underrated.

A player who has that gap control and has done extremely well playing against top competition is very intriguing.

Especially considering his name isn’t known to be a big one and he doesn’t put up a lot of points, his contract likely won’t be anything massive compared to the other players who are talked about more often.

I think the possibility of grabbing DeMelo in UFA is amazing, the Leafs could have their top right defensemen for 3 million dollars without giving away anyone would be a steal.