The Toronto Maple Leafs UFA Defensemen
There are just two defensemen that the Toronto Maple Leafs are at risk of losing to free agency. That’s because General Manager Kyle Dubas ensured that his star defender, Morgan Rielly, would remain a part of the organization for the next seven years after he signed an extension worth $7.5 million per year in the opening weeks of the season.
Dubas has actually done a remarkable job ensuring that there’s little risk to losing his blueliners. The only ones set to become unrestricted free agents (UFA) are the players acquired at the trade deadline, Mark Giordano and Ilya Lyubushkin.
With his limited no-trade clause, Toronto was on Giodano’s list possible destinations. Being shipped to the Leafs, not only brought him to a playoff bound team but also has allowed the former captain of the Calgary Flames and Seattle Kraken to play for his hometown franchise for the first time.
Giordano turns 39 in October and is no longer a Norris Trophy level defenseman, but in his short time with the Leafs, he has proven that he fits in nicely on the roster. If the Leafs resign Giordano, it would likely be for just one or two seasons at a low price point.
Lyubushkin has been a steadying presence since he was acquired by the Coyotes. At 28-years-old, he’s coming off his fourth-consecutive one-year contract. His current deal has paid him $1.35 million.
At this point his career, Lyubushkin has proven that he belongs in the NHL. That should be enough to persuade Dubas to make a long-term offer to the former KHLer. A deal structured this way would be beneficial to both parties. Lyubushkin would gain career stability and the Leafs could save some money by paying a lower annual salary.