Analyst Claims Top Right-Hand Defenceman Will Sign With the Toronto Maple Leafs

Former Toronto Maple Leaf believes that Chris Tanev will join the club as soon as free agency opens on July 1. Tanev would provide the top-pairing, right-hand shot defenceman the team needs, playing in the style that Craig Berube and Brad Treliving envision.
Chris Tanev could join the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1, according to analyst Carlo Colaiacovo.
Chris Tanev could join the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1, according to analyst Carlo Colaiacovo. / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

Hockey analyst and former Leaf Carlo Colaiacovo “firmly” believes that Chris Tanev will sign with the Toronto Maple Leaf next season.

Colaiacovo made this bold claim on a recent episode of the FirstUP Show. During the show, Colaiacovo spoke about the efforts the Toronto Maple Leafs made to acquire Tanev at the trade deadline.

With that in mind, Colaiacovo made his opinion clear, stating:

"I firmly believe that Chris Tanev will be a Toronto Maple Leaf on July 1."

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Chris Tanev

Colaiacovo would go on to add that he thinks that Tanev is the Leafs top target. Colaiacovo’s claims echo long-time rumours that Tanev would don the blue and white.

The Leafs are widely expected to pursue the 34 year old when free-agency opens Monday. The cap-hit is likely going to be expensive, but the Leafs could take a chance and add longer term for the sake of keeping the cap hit lower. Considering the Leafs are in win-now mode with Auston Matthews just entering his prime, this move does make sense despite Tanev's age.

The Leafs have been sorely lacking a legitimate top-pairing, right-handed defenceman to play with Morgan Rielly. Outside of TJ Brodie, who is no longer an option, the Leafs have failed to pair him with another top pairing player.

Players like Ron Hainsey and Luke Schenn filled that role well enough but they weren't top pairing playesr. However, the Leafs have never really had anyone to play alongside Rielly.

That situation could drastically change with the addition of Chris Tanev, though given his age, how long that will be true remains to be seen.

Slotting Tanev in with Rielly allows Craig Berube to let Rielly play to his strengths. Rielly has been much more effective offensively when having a reliable partner. If the Leafs do sign Tanev, the Leafs blue line would get a massive overhaul.

As for the cost, Tanev’s contract would essentially replace TJ Brodie’s. As such, the Leafs’ cap structure doesn’t change significantly.


Now, one other thing: Signing Tanev will not solve everything on the blue line. The Leafs only have McCabe, Rielly and Benoit on their roster at the moment and that's not even close to good enough.