The Toronto Maple Leafs should not trade for Jacob Chychrun this year.
Although you could argue that Jacob Chychrun would be a great addition to the Toronto Maple Leafs, he shouldn’t be the player they target this year.
As it currently stands, Jake Muzzin will probably never play again and TJ Brodie is out for two weeks. I wouldn’t worry as much about Brodie’s health but Muzzin’s is clearly significant.
Injuries have been an issue for Muzzin throughout his entire journey with the Leafs, but when he’s healthy, he’s clearly a top-four talent.
Chychrun is also a top-four defenseman, but he’s not the player Toronto needs right now.
When you think of Muzzin’s game, you think of his net-front presence, a resilient effort in the corner hitting players and defending at a high-level. However, the opposite can be said about Chychrun.
Chychrun’s best attribute is his skill and ability to score from the blue-line. He has good size (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) that can be effective, but he’s not going to torment the opposition, which is something Muzzin was known for.
Toronto Maple Leafs Should Trade For Defensive Defenseman
In order for Toronto to be successful in the playoffs, they don’t need a goal-scoring defenseman. Instead, they need their forwards to step up and carry the load, especially from the likes of Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.
If those four players go cold, the Leafs have no chance to win.
However, if they become one of the best defensive teams in the NHL, even if they go cold, they may have a better chance to win.
In the past, Toronto has tried to win the 5-4 games, but this year it’s different. They’re playing sound defensive hockey and are doing a better job at winning 2-1 and 3-2 games.
Even with Muzzin out, the team has been good defensively, so instead of trying to acquire an offensively-minded defenseman, the team should lean the other way and find the most defensive defenseman there is.
They probably wouldn’t be ready to move him, but someone like Christopher Tanev of the Calgary Flames would be perfect for Toronto. As a right-shot defenseman, Tanev could push Justin Holl down (or out) of the line-up and would be a perfect replacement for Muzzin, although he plays the other side.
At $4.5M AAV until 2023-24, Tanev not only has a great contract, bue he’s one of the best defensive-defenseman in the NHL.
That’s just one example, but there are clearly other players out there that could work. However, the Toronto Maple Leafs don’t need an offensive defenseman like Jacob Chychrun.
Instead, they need someone who can play shutdown defense and help this team win one-goal games, which could be the difference in the playoffs.