The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Trade Their First-Round Pick For Top Defensemen

Maple Leafs Should Target Jakub Chychrun In Trade With Senators
Maple Leafs Should Target Jakub Chychrun In Trade With Senators / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages
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Noah Dobson

This one may be far-fetched because Dobson is coming off a career year in which he scored 70 points in 78 games.

But he has one year left on his contract, and just like Chychrun, he'll be due for a big raise. The Islanders already owe 12 million dollars to Ryan Puloch and Adam Pelech.

They pay their goalie more than eight million dollars and have 17.5 million dollars spent between Anders Lee, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Pierre Engvall, and Casey Cizikas over the next two seasons.

Those last four have to be among some of the worst contracts in the NHL.

With Ilya Sorokin, Bo Horvat, and Mattew Barzal all under contract through 2030-2031, it is not impossible to see the Islanders wanting to get younger through the draft. This would give them some cap flexibility going into free agency, as they only have six million dollars to spend and only 11 forwards and five defensemen on NHL contracts, with multiple of those being prospects.

Dobson is an elite offensive defenseman. Last year, he ranked in the top 10 percent of defensemen in finishing wins above replacement (WAR) and in the top four percent in primary assists. In addition, he ranked seventh among defensemen in points on an Islanders team in the bottom half of the NHL in goals-per-game.

Dobson is another guy who could be better on his own end, but he was on the ice for the most goals per 60 minutes of any Islanders defenseman and finished the year with a 57 percent goal share while on the ice at five-on-five.

Dobson would cost more than a first-round pick, but he is a good starting point as a restricted free agent at the end of the season, which would give the Leafs first dibs at signing him long-term or recouping some of the cost through draft pick compensation if they decide to go a different route.