Toronto Maple Leafs Still Looking to Upgrade Their Defense

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JUNE 28: General manager Brad Treliving of the Toronto Maple Leafs is seen prior to round one of the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bridgestone Arena on June 28, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JUNE 28: General manager Brad Treliving of the Toronto Maple Leafs is seen prior to round one of the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bridgestone Arena on June 28, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs Still Looking to Upgrade Their Defense

The Toronto Maple Leafs will need to use the trade market to get a decent offensive defenseman. All the unrestricted free-agent defensemen with offensive upside have all signed new deals.

Vince Dunn – Seattle Kraken

Vince Dunn is a 26-year-old left-shooting defenseman from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. He is 6’0, 200 Lbs, and can play a ton of minutes.

He averaged 23:40 minutes of ice time last season. Dunn registered 14 goals and 50 assists for 64 points in 81 games. He also recorded 80 blocked shots and 115 hits.

Dunn is an RFA coming off a two-year deal worth $8 million with a $4 million annual cap hit. Depending on how much of a raise Dunn is looking for, he good be a target for Treliving.

Erik Karlsson – San Jose Sharks

Erik Karlsson might be 33 years old, but he proved to everyone last season that he still has what it takes to be a top defenseman in the NHL.

He just won the Norris Trophy for best defenseman after registering 25 goals and 76 assists for 101 points in 82 games. Karlsson can play 25 minutes a night and is an expert at getting pucks up ice.

He still has four years left on his contract, worth $11.5 million a season. Toronto cannot afford to add that contract, but San Jose would likely retain salary in the deal.

If the Toronto Maple Leafs could get the Sharks to retain 50% of Karlsson’s contract, his cap hit in Toronto would be $5.75 million.

Bowen Byram – Colorado Avalanche

Bowen Byram is a 22-year-old from Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada. He registered ten goals and 14 assists for 24 points in 42 games last season.

In a complete season of 82 games, Byram could reach 40+ points.

He has two years left on his deal, worth $3.85 million a season, and will be an RFA after the 2024-25 season.  Byram has a concussion history that might sap his trade value, otherwise he’s a potential future number-one type player with a solid all-round game and the potential to be a superstar.