Grades for Each of the Toronto Maple Leafs Free-Agency Moves

May 25, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman Chris Tanev (3) in action during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Edmonton Oilers in game two of the Western Conference Final of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
May 25, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman Chris Tanev (3) in action during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Edmonton Oilers in game two of the Western Conference Final of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Oliver Ekman-Larsson

As a $2.5 reclamation project, the Florida Panthers had OEL on their third pairing where he was a 54% player and very effective.

The Leafs gave the 32 year-old $4 million to either a) play on their second pairing which is dumb because he's not good enough to do that or b) play on their third pairing where he's way too expensive.

Last year the Leafs most used 3rd pairing was Mark Giordano and Timothy Liljegren who also won their mintues by about 54% and did it for a combined price of just over the league minimum.

While I expect Liljegren to be in the top-four this year, there is a very real possiblity that they have a $7 million dollar third pairing in OEL and Liljegren.

That's just too much.

Overall, i like the player and I like that the Leafs went with a puck mover. OEL, Tanev, Liljegren and Rielly is lightyears better than what they had.

They improved their D and I can't be too harsh because of that, but the money here is a bit much and I doubt a 32 year old OEL has much left.

However, it can't be overlooked that salary aside, the Leafs blue-line is miles better than it was.

C-