The Toronto Maple Leafs need to upgrade their defense this off-season but they shouldn’t do it by signing Alex Pietrangelo.
Ask any fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and they’ll tell you they need to upgrade their defense. It’s the biggest misconception of a team that is a so close to a Stanley Cup and Alex Pietrangelo isn’t the savior.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see Pietrangelo in a Leafs jersey. I’d also like to see Brent Burns, Carey Price and Connor McDavid, but they’re unrealistic dreams. Although it’s much more of a reality that the current captain of the St. Louis Blues could dawn the blue-and-white, it isn’t practical.
The Leafs had the most unlucky qualifying series in the history of hockey. First, they couldn’t score a goal to save their lives and second, one of their top-pairing defensemen, Jake Muzzin injured himself in a freak accident. If Muzzin is in the line-up and the Leafs shoot at five percent, instead of two percent, the Leafs defeat Columbus.
Pietrangelo is a top-five defenseman in the NHL but the Leafs are committed to a process of skill up-front. If they acquire him, they’ll have to trade one of the best offensive players in the entire NHL. Either William Nylander, John Tavares or Mitch Marner is going to get traded and general manager Kyle Dubas has already mentioned that Marner isn’t going anywhere.
Tavares also has a “no-move clause” and you know he didn’t leave New York to get traded two years later. Tavares is going to retire a Maple Leaf and he wants to do it with a Stanley Cup ring on his finger.
That means that Nylander would have to get traded and if you ask me, that’s stupid. He’s the one player on the Leafs with a great contract and 30-goal scorers don’t grow on trees. Nylander is one of the most underrated players in the NHL and will help this team win.
Commit to the process and keep the core-four for another year or two and don’t waste your money on Pietrangelo. Speaking of which, here are 10 other defenseman the Leafs should pursue instead.