5 Toronto Maple Leafs That Won’t Be Back Next Season

With Toronto’s 2023-24 season coming to a close, who likely have seen their last game in a Leafs uniform?
Oct 11, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman TJ Brodie (78)
Oct 11, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman TJ Brodie (78) / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
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T.J. Brodie

The moment T.J. Brodie joined the Maple Leafs back in 2020 on a four-year, $20 million contract, everyone knew they had reeled in a defensive stalwart for their back end.

A true specialist in blocking shots, breaking up plays along with smart positioning, the Leafs knew they had potentially a top-pairing defenseman that they could rely on to provide strong defensive minutes to help complement the offensively-focussed attack.

Brodie certainly did not disappoint, as he constantly maintained an above 54% expected goals rate and scoring chances rate during 5-on-5 situations, tilting the ice in the Leafs favour. On top of that, he was also able to chip in with some supplemental offense, tallying 56 points in his previous three seasons with the club.

However, Brodie had taken a huge step back this season in regards to his defensive play. Most notably, his CF% numbers along with his expected goals and scoring chance rate have all fallen below 50%, along with often being caught out of position, leading to unexpected scoring chances for the opposing team.

Things got so bad that he wasn’t even considered to be one of the top six defenseman for the Leafs heading into this year’s playoffs. When he did eventually draw in for one game, he played dreadfully. In particular was his failed defensive play against Brad Marchand that led directly to David Pastranak’s goal during the second period in Game 4. 

As a result, with the elevated level of play by the likes of Jake McCabe, Simon Benoit and even Liljegren, Brodie won’t be retained by the Leafs in the coming season.