Toronto Maple Leafs 2024 Defensemen Trade Deadline Targets

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Top Leafs Trade Targets

I have split my list of defensive targets into two groups, more desirable and less desirable based on a player's fit, contract situation, performance, and health among other things.

The Leafs could look to either acquire a legitimate top-four defender to make a real impact or a third pairing or seventh defenseman that could help supplement their already capable depth.

In regards to a top-four defender, most fans seem to speculate about acquiring someone that can play beside Morgan Rielly. This seems more likely with the revelation that a Brodie-Liljegren pairing works well, albeit in a small sample.

Also, in last year's layoffs the Leafs ran with a McCabe-Brodie pairing that played well as a shutdown pairing for the most part. However, there are other conceivable combinations when looking at acquiring a defenseman and I chose to not force myself to look specifically for that need.

Least Desirable

Noah Hanifin

The no-doubt top of the market when it comes to deadline acquisitions, Hanifin will demand a king's ransom for the Calgary Flames.

He finds himself in the less desirable category because it has been reported that he will only sign an extension in the U.S. and thus, would solely be a rental if he were to be acquired by the Leafs. I also have very little faith that the Flames would trade him to Toronto given how the last two trades of high profile defensemen have shaken out and they could get a lot more if they package him with an extension in place.

However, markets are weird and there are always surprises come deadline day, if the Leafs have an opportunity to acquire Hanifin and it makes sense, they should pounce on it.

Despite being a left-shot and the clear need is a right-shot, he is very much worthy of moving things around for, like Jake Muzzin was back in 2018. He has been a top-pair defender in the NHL for years, sporting good results at both ends of the ice. If given the chance, Treliving and Co. should be all over it as it would certainly make the Leafs blueline much deeper.