The Toronto Maple Leafs clearly do not have a strong blue-line.
Coming into the season the blue-line was obviously the Toronto Maple Leafs biggest weakness, and it was even strange that the only player they added to it in the summer was John Klingberg, who didn’t seem like a good fit at the time and hasn’t played well to date.
The Leafs blue line is old – five out of six players are over 30, and they also have the NHL’s oldest player in Mark Giordano.
The blue-line also lacks physicality – only Jake McCabe is considered a physical player and he’s been a complete disaster so far this year.
The blue-line has no elite players, and lacks depth. Leafs GM Brad Treliving clearly has to address the team’s defense sooner or later.
The Leafs could see some improvement to their depth when Conor Timmins returns, but he’s not close to returning, and he doesn’t really seem like he’ll ever be an impact player regardless.
With no NHL ready prospects who appear to be anything more than depth pieces, the Leafs will have to look outside the organization for defensive help. The chances of getting an elite player who will help the team in a major way are basically zero at this point.
Perhaps later in the year when some teams are eliminated, a player with top-pairing upside could become available, but for now at least, the team should focus on getting some depth for their lineup. Should an injury occur, the Leafs are looking at playing Simon Benoit, so clearly depth is needed.
The Leafs could use a defenseman with a bit of size that can block shots and play physically. A defenseman who can control the puck in his own zone and limit giveaways is ideal. Finding a team willing to trade a defenseman like this is the hard part. There are plenty of defensemen like this throughout the NHL, but will anyone be willing to trade one to the Leafs?
Here is a look at three defensemen the Toronto Maple Leafs could target for defensive help.