Toronto Maple Leafs: Can Treliving Land These Defenseman

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There is no arguing that despite two wins in California so far this week by the Toronto Maple Leafs, they still lack one or two top-four defenseman on the team.

Currently, the Toronto Maple Leafs have Morgan Rielly who is a bonified top pairing defenseman, while Timothy Liljegren is starting to show that he is a top four defender that fans had been hoping for since he was selected in the first round in 2017.

However, outside of those two players the team lacks defenders that should be playing more than 18 minutes a night, which, if the team hopes to go deep into the playoffs, they need an upgrade.

While there has been talk of adding veterans like Calgary's Chris Tanev or Anaheim's Ilya Lybushkin, I'm not convinced that either of these players are any better than the glutten of bottom pairing defenders the Maple Leafs already have.

So, the question arises as who should GM Brad Treliving should target in a trade?

Toronto Maple Leafs: Can Treliving Land These Defenseman

Noah Hanifin - Calgary Flames
The easiest answer is Noah Hanifin. The 27-year-old left-handed shot defenseman is in the final year of his deal that comes with a cap hit of just under $5 Million.

Hanifin has been a top four defenseman in the league for several years and has averaged nearly 23-minutes over the last two seasons for the Calgary Flames. He is the biggest impact defenseman that is known to be on the open market and would be an immediate upgrade on the Maple Leafs.

What is likely holding back from acquiring Hanifin is the cost in a trade and not knowing if you would get more than a stretch run with him.

There are reports that the former fifth overall pick wants to head back to the United States to play for a new team and if Treliving can't get an extension agreed upon, it may be better to check on some other players that may resolve the defense issue longer term before circling back.