Top 3 Defensemen the Toronto Maple Leafs Should Trade For

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 7: Corey Perry #94 of the Montreal Canadiens watches an incoming shot against Jake Muzzin #8 and Jack Campbell #36 of the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on April 7, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 7: Corey Perry #94 of the Montreal Canadiens watches an incoming shot against Jake Muzzin #8 and Jack Campbell #36 of the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on April 7, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Mar 13, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Justin Braun (61) and Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) battle for the puck during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Justin Braun (61) and Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) battle for the puck during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

Justin Braun – Philadelphia Flyers

Height: 6’2
Weight: 203 lbs
Shoots: Right
Age: 34
Blocked Shots: 82
Hits: 50
Giveaways: 17
Average Ice-Time: 19:48
Games Played: 41
Contract: $1.8 Million (UFA next season)

Justin Braun is a 12 year NHL veteran with 100 games of valuable NHL Playoff experience.  He’s been to the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals and the 2019 Conference Finals both with the San Jose Sharks.

Braun is 34 years-old, but he still has a lot to give.  He’s on an affordable $1.8 million contract and probably won’t demand any more than that if the Leafs choose to offer him an extension.  He plays top four minutes with the Philadelphia Flyers and shoots right.

He currently ranks 13th in the NHL among defenseman with 82 blocked shots this season, but Justin Braun has been criticized for not playing physically enough despite his 6’2 frame.  His 50 hits this season are less than Jake Muzzin (74), Justin Holl (57) and Rasmus Sandin (54).

With 16 giveaways, Braun has fewer than any Toronto Maple Leafs defender besides Timothy Liljegren (15) who has only played 23 games this season compared to Braun’s 41.  Per 60 minutes, he has 1.26 giveaways which is way better than any Leafs defenseman (Sandin leads with 1.95).

It’s a close call between Justin Braun and Ilya Lyubushkin for who would be a better a fit with the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Lyubushkin is significantly more physical and gives the puck away a bit less than Braun.

I give Braun the edge because of his superior NHL experience (especially in the playoffs), his shot blocking totals and the fact that he’s shown he can eat up top four minutes.  Braun can also contribute more offensively as he has two goals and nine points this season compared to Lyubushkin’s zero goals and six assists.  Braun has a powerful shot when he chooses to use it.