The Toronto Maple Leafs must absolutely avoid acquiring defenseman Ben Chiarot from the Montreal Canadiens this trade deadline.
Far from the fact that an over-pay would be likely, he wouldn’t actually serve to improve the Toronto Maple Leafs all that much at all.
At least, not when you look at how he’s performing in the regular season this year, albeit on a Canadiens side that is performing exceedingly bad.
Any move would be a risk based on his impressive display in last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, and given that was a year ago, should the Leafs trust that he can recreate this form.
He is liable to leave the Toronto Maple Leafs short-handed
Ben Chiarot seems to be a magnet for penalties. While the Leafs are tied for the 3rd-best shorthanded goals with 6; surely it is best to avoid playing on the penalty-kill if at all possible.
This is one area where Chiarot has proven to be a liability. This season, he is seeing 0:49 in penalty time averaged across his games played.
Comparing his penalties drawn and penalties taken, he’s at a net negative of -0.82 per 60 minutes.
As a defenseman, he’s not likely to run a net-positive value as much as someone like Connor McDavid, who sits at 1.34 per 60 minutes, but he still needs to be as close to even as possible. A net negative isn’t a good look.
As a comparison, the Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman with the worst stat-line (and at least 5 games played) is Justin Holl, with a -0.39 per 60 minutes.
Too steep of a trade price for the Toronto Maple Leafs
As well as costing an on-ice price if he signed on, he likely also comes at too steep of an asset price, with regards to a trade.
The Montreal Canadiens are absolutely going to be out to maximize their returns and his prior form in the post-season gives them a very strong selling point.
As a pure rental player with a cap hit of $3.5 million, he doesn’t come cheap but the Canadiens will likely seek to retain some of that as a sweetener to any deal.
The prevailing thought seems to be that Montreal will slap an asking price involving a first-round pick on him. That is a ridiculous ask for this player.
It makes sense to link him to the Toronto Maple Leafs
With all of this said, there is obviously the market for him. He averaged over 25 minutes a night , with 88 hits and 48 blocked shots in the Canadiens’ run to the Stanley Cup Final last year.
He has the size, standing at 6’3″ and 234lbs, and willingness to throw it around that could serve to intimidate opposition forwards in the playoffs.
It’s obvious that Chiarot possesses the build and characteristics best suited to the intensity of the game. Certainly, he could be a valuable piece to add. Then again, the Leafs outshot Montreal by 41 shots in seven games last year when Chiarot was on the ice.
However, there are other names in the rumour mill that the Toronto Maple Leafs should pursue that come in both cheaper and in some cases have a bonus year of term.
The Leafs clearly need to be carful here, even as a depth add, the contract and play-style don’t really fit, and he’s likely to be expensive.