Toronto Maple Leafs 2024 Defensemen Trade Deadline Targets

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Nick Seeler (Least Desirable)

As far as fit goes, Seeler checks a lot of boxes. He hits, he blocks shots, and he’s great defensively, logging a lot of minutes on a second-place Flyers powerplay.

A major separating element that Seeler has is that he drives positive offensive results as well. Although he won’t be a powerplay quarterback, he can help solidify the blueline depth. He does all of this and more for a measly $800k salary.

Now to the downsides, he is a pending UFA who seems poised to see a major pay raise that the Leafs should not pay. He will be 31 by the time July 1st hits and given his style of play, he could start to decline relatively quickly. To add, he isn't sheltered but at 5v5, he doesn't play top competition a lot, at least not more significantly than against lower lines. This isn't necessarily a knock, he could be a good acquisition but it would be wise to acquire him with the sole purpose of playing third pairing minutes in mind.

Colton Parayko

The main variable around whether I deem Parayko more or less desirable is surrounding his contract. He is in the second season of an eight-year contract, carrying an AAV of $6.5 million at nearly 31-years-old.

He is an elite mobile defensive defender, that is great in tansition and that possesses great size at 6-6 and 228 lbs and he uses it. Digging into the numbers tip the scale even more in favor of Parayko, he plays against top competition and has logged between 20-24 minutes per night on average since 2016-17.

He has respectable defensive numbers, sitting 155th in xGA/60 of 234 defenders who have logged 1000 minutes at 5v5 over the past three years.

These may seem like relatively mediocre numbers but with the context that he leads all blueliners in ice time over the past three years, they start to look a little better. These numbers look even better after factoring usage and relative to teammate stats where Parayko ranks 48th in xGA/60 relative to teammates and fifth in DZS% (D-Zone Start percentage). Meaning that he starts in the defensive end of the ice, a LOT.

Then again, the Blues have lost his minutes more or less consistantly over the last few years. It has been five years since he finished with a positive Expected Goals rating, and he brings absolutely zero offense, which really cuts into how effective he can be.

His abilities are all well and good but the problem lies with his contract. Parayko will turn 31mid-way through the postseason and with six years remaining after this, there is serious cause for concern on how the contract will look only a couple seasons from now. In fact, with the Athletic rating his current value at just over a million dollars, he is one of the most overpaid players in the NHL right now.

As I mentioned before, Parayko is a big-bodied defender who uses it, meaning he is putting his body through the ringer and with his mobility being a major strength in his game, losing that could be borderline catastrophic for his effectiveness.

The Leafs should not have any interest.