Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Grade and Analysis for Chris Tanev Trade

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The Toronto Maple Leafs made a trade on day two of the NHL entry draft to acquire the rights to defenseman Chris Tanev.

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded their 7th-round pick in 2026 and the expiring contract on Max Ellis to the Dallas Stars for the exclusive rights to negotiate with Tanev before he becomes an unrestricted free agent (UFA) on July 1st.

The two sides only have until Monday to get a deal done.

Assuming the two sides can reach a deal before Monday, this is a huge pick-up for the Leafs. Improving the Leafs blueline is the top priority for Leafs general manager Brad Treliving, and he is off to a good start if he can get Tanev signed.

Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Grade and Analysis for Chris Tanev Trade

The big question now for the Leafs is how much money and term will it take to get Tanev to sign on the dotted line and become a Toronto Maple Leaf defenseman? Tanev, who is 34, will likely want this to be his last contract, so I assume he is asking for a minimum of four years.

As for the amount he is looking for, Tanev earned $4.5 million a season on his previous deal, which was given to him by Brad Treliving while he was the GM in Calgary. Many believe that Tanev is seeking around the same amount (between $4 million - $5 million) on his next contract.
(Salary cap info from

Even if the Leafs sign Tanev to a four-year deal worth $5 million a season, they will still have enough cap space to add at least one more defenseman during free agency, however, given Tanev's age this is a high-risk move.

Regardless, it is a move with a potentially massive pay off - If Tanev is healthy and doesn't enter into a massive decline, the Leafs will be getting one of the NHL's best defenseman. Therefore I give this Trade a Grade of A because the reward is worth the risk. The Leafs are in win-now mode and they have to make moves like this while they still have Tavares and Rielly hovering anywhere close to their primes.

The Leafs are still expected to take a look at another former Flames defenseman that Treliving knows well, Nikita Zadorov. Getting both Tanev and Zadorov will take away most of the Leafs available salary cap space. However, there should still be enough cap space to acquire another goaltender to play with Joseph Woll. (All stats

For now, the Leafs must focus on signing Tanev. He is known as one of the NHL's best shutdown defensemen, and is an elite penalty killer. Tanev is known to shutdown the other team's top players and isn't afraid to put his body on the line to block shots.


Tanev is a right-shooting defenseman from Toronto, Ontario. He is 6'2, 193 Lbs. Last season he registered two goals and 17 assists for 19 points in 75 games. He finished the season with a +22 rating, 207 blocked shots, and 45 hits.