Where Does Each Toronto Maple Leafs Free Agent Defensemen End Up?

Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs
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Ilya Lyubushkin

Lyubushkin fits the description of a Brad Treliving defenseman. He's big and physical which is part of the reason why Treliving acquired Lyubushkin from the Ducks before the deadline. Between his time with Anaheim and Toronto last season, he played 74 games and recorded four points which were all assists.

Lyubushkin was playing with Rielly when he got to Toronto and if he comes back, you can't expect him to play top pair minutes. On a competitive defence core, Lyubushkin is probably your bottom pair or seventh defenseman. He brings physicality which is useful, especially on your bottom pairing.

Ultimately, I think Treliving brings the 30-year-old back on a one-year deal at an AAV of around 2.5 million dollars.

John Klingberg

The John Klingberg situation is an interesting one. Last summer he signed a one-year deal worth 4.15 million dollars. He only played 14 games as a Leaf and it was a rough 14 games for him. Defensively it was a disaster and unfortunately, an injury sidelined him for the rest of the year.

If Klingberg does decide to play again he is going to have to sign a one-year deal at league minimum. The Leafs have great medical resources and have used them to extend player's careers (one example is Tyler Ennis) so that may be appealing to Klingberg. I could see him returning as a depth guy.

Timothy Liljegren

The only restricted free agent on the blue line for the Leafs is 25-year-old Timothy Liljegren. He played 55 games last season, scoring three goals and recording 20 assists for 23 points. Liljegren was drafted by the Leafs in 2017 with the 17th overall pick and has struggled to solidify a role throughout the regular season and into the playoffs. I don't see him being able to command much more than he was earning before which was 1.4 million dollars per year for two years.

I like Liljegren. He was one of the only guys on the blue line last year that could move the puck and, to be honest, I think you gain more from keeping him and playing him than trading him. At the end of the day, Liljegren doesn't fit the mould of a Treliving defenseman and I think he will end up being dealt. Like I already said, I think this would be a mistake but my prediction is Treliving trades Liljegren before the season begins.

Turns out he resigned a 2 x $3 million deal.