The Toronto Maple Leafs announced recently that defenseman, John Klingberg, requires hip surgery and will miss the remainder of the season, and rumour has it they’re searching for a replacement.
Klingberg averaged 20:33 of ice time during his 14 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs which is third most minutes among Leafs defensemen behind only Morgan Reilly and T.J. Brodie. (stats from Sportsnet.ca).
His injury unlocks almost $4 million in cap-space for the Leafs, and gives GM Brad Treliving a do-over on what was proving to be a terrible decision.
With the additional injuries to Timothy Liljegren (now back) and Mark Giordano, the mercurial play of Jake McCabe and the decline of T.J Brodie, it’s become obvious that the Leafs could use another top 4 defenseman.
Ideally they would add an elite defender who could push everyone else down the lineup, but those kinds of players are not generally available.
Depth defensemen, Conor Timmins, Simon Benoit, William Lagesson and Max Lajoie have done okay in their elevated roles, but they can’t be expected to fill these gaps in the lineup longterm.
With Klingberg on LTIR, the Toronto Maple Leafs have the cap space available to easily bring another quality top 4 defenseman into their lineup now, and there are several players who fit the bill that are rumoured to be available.
Here are my top 5 picks for available defensemen who could help the Toronto Maple Leafs: