Toronto Maple Leafs Wishlist Item #1: Heavy Hitting Defenseman
Leafs GM Brad Treliving has mentioned several times that he would like to add a hard-hitting defenseman to the Leafs roster.
He would prefer a right-shot defenseman, but I think he’d take whatever he can get. The Leafs are near the top of the league in hitting, so it’s not an overall problem. However, their blue-line – especially when fully healthy, lacks much physical presence.
Defensemen Andrew Peeke from the Columbus Blue Jackets or William Borgen from the Seattle Kraken would be good options for the Leafs.
They both are a right-handed shot and play a physical game. If I had to choose between the two, I would pick Peeke. The cap hit for both is very similar, but Peeke is under contract until the 2025-26 season, while Borgen is under contract until the end of the 2024-25 season.
However, if Treliving is not overly concerned with whether the defenseman is left-shooting or right-shooting, then that opens up many more possibilities. Mario Ferraro, Jonas Siegenthaler, and Jake Middleton are all left-shooting options that fit the Treliving mold.
Depending on which players the Leafs send down to the AHL Toronto Marlies, Treliving could have $3.19 million available due to LTIR use. That amount, plus whichever player the Leafs move in any deal, should make a trade easier to complete. (Salary cap information from capfriendly.com)
As good as Simon Benoit and William Lagesson have been good in relief during recent injuries, I think Treliving would prefer players with more experience, especially come playoff time. So, I don’t expect to see either of them on the team after the trade deadline.