No. 1: TJ Brodie
Brodie currently commands a $5 million AAV with just one year remaining on his contract—a development that may bring relief to Leafs fans given his perceived decline in performance.
Although his initial seasons with the organization showcased his prowess as a solid addition to the top-six, it has become evident that he may not be the ideal fit for the role of a second defenseman on a team aspiring to contend for the Stanley Cup.
Complicating matters is Brodie's modified no-trade clause, which includes a 10-team trade list.
This restriction makes the task of trading him to a preferred destination challenging. However, given the current cap-space needs for the Leafs championship aspirations, moving Brodie becomes a necessary step.
While the $5 million price tag may present a hurdle, the silver lining is that the contract expires after this season, making it a potential attractive option for teams in need of temporary defensive help.
Exploring the possibility of a trade, one intriguing scenario could involve sending Brodie (plus more) back to Calgary for Noah Hanifin. Brodie's prior association with the Flames might make him amenable to a return, and there's potential for negotiations around a contract extension at a more budget-friendly figure.
This move could prove mutually beneficial for both parties, especially if the Leafs include sweeteners in the deal, such as draft picks or prospects.
Regardless of the player acquired in exchange, shedding Brodie's $5 million would significantly alleviate the financial strain on the Leafs' roster. This financial relief is especially crucial given the current struggles and perceived inadequacies in the team's defensive lineup. By parting ways with Brodie, the Leafs have an opportunity to inject much-needed resources into strengthening their blue-line, which is currently underperforming and in need of urgent attention.
Hopefully the team can find a way to make this player disappear, but based on his previous relationship with Brodie, I feel like Treliving may want to keep him on the roster for the rest of the season.