The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Lose Half Their Blue-Line

The Toronto Maple Leafs had a really successful season, finishing just two points out of out of second overall, winning a playoff series for the first time in nearly 20 years, and heavily outplaying the team that eventually beat them with a hot goalie.

Despite having a solid season, the Toronto Maple Leafs have a ton of UFAs and will be coming back with a different team next year.

There are nearly 10 UFAs on the roster, they are looking for a new GM, and a new coach is a near certainty.

Though everyone is talking about trading Marner, it’s such a stupid idea it’s barely worth talking about.

What the Leafs will probably do is make big changes on their blue-line.  The Leafs have had a great team for years, but the one thing they haven’t had is a dominant top-of-the-line defenseman.

The best they had was Morgan Rielly during his career year, which was the one season in which he was legitimately one of the best players in the NHL.  It’s unlikely he’ll ever get back to those heights, and so what they. need is someone to push everyone else down the depth chart.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Need a Number-One Defenseman

Jake McCabe is back, Morgan Rielly is back, and Timothy Liljegren is back.

Luke Scheen should not be re-signed and neither should Justin Holl.   T.J Brodie is entering the last year of his contract and he’s getting older and slower. His cap space is more valuable than he is at this point.

This would leave the Leafs in need of three defensemen, but it would also give them the chance to alter their roster significantly without trading one of their best players.

But where can they get an Adam Fox, a Dougie Hamilton or a Victor Hedman?

The best defeneseman in the UFA market are likely Matt Dumba and Damon Severson, although neither is going to supplant McCabe or Rielly and become their new number-one, although as a top-four that would an insane group.

If the Leafs want a game breaking defender, they’ve got to make a trade for either a young player who could become a #1 or an even bigger trade for someone who is already established.

In my opinion, if they want to go for the established player route, Erik Karlsson and Zach Werenski would be the best options.

If they wanted to go for a young player with potential, Bowen Byram would be an excellent choice.

The cost of any of these players would be extremely high, but if the Leafs want to improve their team, the only thing they haven’t tried is having a top defenseman.