One pending unrestricted free agent the Maple Leafs can steal from their Atlantic Division rivals

The Toronto Maple Leafs could still use another player or two that will improve their defense for 2024-25, and they may not need to look far to improve their lineup.
Detroit Red Wings v Toronto Maple Leafs
Detroit Red Wings v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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The Toronto Maple Leafs have finally clinched what has become a perennial playoff berth, but they still figure to be behind their top division rivals: the Boston Bruins and the Florida Panthers. Likewise, they aren’t too far ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and there is still a chance the Maple Leafs could drop to the wild card and end up playing a division winner. 

But what if they spent the 2024 offseason looking for ways to lure an unrestricted free agent or two from the Atlantic Division to Ontario? Not every team with pending UFAs has big-name players, but there are more than a few who would serve a purpose on the Maple Leafs should they find a way to bring them to town. 

Tyson Jost, Buffalo Sabres/Forward

Tyson Jost may not be a flashy player like some listed in this piece, but he’s nonetheless been outstanding defensively at times in Buffalo. He’s not someone you would put onto the top-nine, but he’s versatile enough to be a fourth-line center or winger who can be physical when he wants to and can also boost a short-handed unit. 

Jost’s advanced numbers won’t impress you, especially at 5-on-5, but his overall feisty mentality adds another layer of aggression that the Leafs can use for all of the 2024-25 season. This is a team that can score, and they do have aggressive players but forwards like Jost will help teams win championships. 

Shayne Gostisbehere, Detroit Red Wings/Defenseman

The Maple Leafs have players on the blue line who can score, but Detroit’s loss should Gostisbehere not re-sign would be a major win for Toronto if he landed in Ontario next season. Gostisbehere continues to impress, with 50 points total in 76 contests already, plus 10 goals. 

He remains an outstanding player, regardless of whose uniform he’s wearing, but you can only wonder what Gostisbehere could do with a top-tier scoring team like the Maple Leafs. His career-best is currently 65 points, and there would be a good chance that he snags that number in a blue and white uniform.