Trade Grades: Toronto Maple Leafs Get Lucky As Chris Tanev Traded to Stars

Feb 17, 2024; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev (8) and Detroit Red Wings
Feb 17, 2024; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev (8) and Detroit Red Wings / Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs dodged a bullet Wednesday night when the NHL's most coveted and overrated defenseman was traded to the Dallas Stars.

The Toronto Maple Leafs were rumoured to be trading for Chris Tanev ever since it became clear that the Calgary Flames weren't going to be making the playoffs.

The rumours make sense as Tanev used to play for ex-Flames and current Leafs GM Brad Treliving - who has not been seen or heard from in months - and the Leafs blue-line is complete and utter garbage.

However, the reality was this never made sense for the Leafs, and I'm very happy to report that Tanev is going to the Dallas Stars and not the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars Trade Grades

The reason Tanev never made sense for the Leafs is two-fold. One, he figured to be an expensive use of their limited assets. Two, he's not a puck-moving defenseman.

The problem with the Leafs blue-line is first and foremost that it cannot move the puck. Morgan Rielly is the only above average puck-mover out of the entire group, and several regulars are well below average, with Simon Benoit being perhaps the worst puck-handler in the entire NHL outside of Ryan Reaves.

This isn't a good feature when your forwards are among the most offensive and highest flying in the entire league. In fact it's a set up that makes no sense, something Treliving keyed into right away when he signed John Klingberg (who was way past his best before date, but at least BT had the right idea).

Tanev would have helped, but not that much. As a secondary addition he would have been nice, but the Leafs were right to save their ammo for something better.

The Flames traded Tanev a week before the deadline and took back an extremely disapointing package. They recieved one of the Stars B-level prospects, Artem Grushnikov, a 2nd round pick and a conditional third rounder.

If that is all you can get, why not wait a week and see if anyone gets desperate?

From Dallas' perspective, they trade a nobody prospect, and a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th (to the New Jersey Devils to get a full 75% salary retention) and get a very good defender for a very low price, and almost no cap hit. Can't go wrong.

From the Leafs perspective, they lose the chance to misidentify their needs and overpay for a player they don't need. Sure, Tanev would have helped them, but with a desperate need for goaltending, a top defenseman and a puck mover (possibly the same guy) it's better for them if Tanev is off the board. An A+ for the Leafs because this was the last player they needed.

The Stars get an B+ for buying low on a player who figured to cost more, however I think 3 x draft picks and a prospect is a bit much for what they're getting.


The Flames get an F for failing to get anything good for such a coveted player and for acting a week in advance when the package wasn't dynomite.