The Toronto Maple Leafs are absolutely desperate for an upgrade to their brutal blue-line.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have Morgan Rielly, an injured Timothy Liljegren, and after that, pretty much nothing.
TJ Brodie and Jake McCabe are all but unplayable in their current lineup positions, but moving them down might help make them at least useful. While Mark Giordano, Simon Benoit, William Lagesson and John Klingberg are not players a team hoping to win the Stanley Cup can use.
The Leafs blue-line is killing them, and every single person paying any attention whatsoever knows they need to upgrade.
But do they now how badly? The Leafs top line is struggling so much that they recently moved Marner to the second line. The fact is, however, that it’s not Marner, it’s the blue-line.
When on the ice with Morgan Rielly, Marner and Matthews have a 57% xGoals rating and they are dominating their minutes like usual. The second Rielly is off the ice, however, it’s a disaster – the Leafs dynamic duo falls to a 42%x Goals rating.
Toronto Maple Leafs: The Elite, Top-Pairing, Available Dman to Trade For
Last week I wrote about the Top 10 Elite Defenseman the Leafs could pursue.
The most realistic option among the ten defenseman listed was MacKenzie Weegar, and he is the player the Toronto Maple Leafs should pursue the hardest.
Leafs GM Brad Treliving clearly has ties to the Calgary organization, and rumours of pillaging his old team have been going on almost constantly since he was hired.
Weegar is 29, he shoots right.
He is an elite, top-pairing defenseman who would instantly be the Leafs best defenseman.
He is also likely be available. The Flames are likely not going to make the playoffs this year, and would (you assume) love to get out of the eight-year contract Treliving signed him to before being fired.
The best part? If the Leafs were willing to eat this deal – and why wouldn’t they? Their GM literally just signed it – the Flames wouldn’t be able to get much back for compensation.
Certainly they’d get something, but taking on this contract is just about the only way in which the Toronto Maple Leafs could get a top-pairing defenseman without having to trade William Nylander to make it happen.
With two great defenseman on the team, the Leafs wouldn’t have to worry about their best players cratering whenever Morgan Rielly wasn’t on the ice.
Weegar is the exact player the Leafs need, he fits in every single way, and he’d likely be the cheapest top pairing guy to acquire. It’s time to make it happen.