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The Toronto Maple Leafs made a patchwork fix to their blueline this week with the addition of veteran Roman Polak. The 31 year old was brought in, according to head coach Mike Babcock, to lighten the workload on top four defensemen such as Nikita Zaitsev Mitchell Marner Jersey, who leads the club in average time on ice pulling double duty 5 on 5 and on special teams.

In spite of their early success, a major area of concern for the Leafs is their defense corps. Toronto has allowed 36 goals 26th in the NHL , but have a 7 3 0 record after a 6 3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday mostly because their bevy of talented forwards led by Auston Matthews, William Nylander and James van Riemsdyk have scored 43 goals 2nd only to Tampa Bay .

Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello continues to keep a watchful eye on the club and remains in contact with other clubs, hoping that he will be able to upgrade the blueline at some point before the February 26th NHL Trade Deadline. .

MORE Maple Leafs Frederick Andersen much more comfortable to start year two


You have to constantly just get a feel of what’s going on throughout the league, each team and primarily your own.” Lamoriello said on Sportsnet’s Hockey Central earlier this month. “It’s always timing, but you have to be aware of the situation each team might be in.” .

Teams traditionally evaluate their own clubs until American Thanksgiving, and then begin to look for solutions outside of their organization to address areas of need. Others will let the season play out to see if they hang in the playoff race before deciding to shop players with expiring contracts or significant term left on their deals. Salary cap ramifications also make it more difficult to swing trades early in the season.

Here are six defensemen that potentially could be available that might be considered upgrades by the Maple Leafs..

Chris Tanev Vancouver Canucks
The 27 year old Toronto native has two years remaining on a five year, 22.25 Million contract 4.45 Million AAV and rumors of his availability circulated over the summer..
The Canucks started the season with moderate success under new head coach Travis Green, but might be edging towards a rebuild with the aging Sedin twins in their late 30’s. Vancouver is in need of reinforcements up front to add to their future core group of Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat and Jake Virtanen, something that Toronto has the ability to provide..

Tanev was paired with Morgan Rielly on Team Canada at the 2016 World Championships and his more stay at home style perfectly compliments Rielly’s offensive instincts..

Sami Vatanen Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks are one of the few teams that could lose a blue chip defensive prospect in Shea Theodore and not bat an eye. GM Bob Murray has locked up Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler and Josh Manson in the last 12 months and they have even more quality on the blueline in youngster Brandon Montour, whose entry level contract is up next summer. .

Vatanen, 26, has two years left at 4.875 Million AAV and is coming off a serious shoulder injury. Anaheim may be interested in adding offense, after losing Patrick Eaves to Guillian Barre Syndrome this week. Any deal likely happens after Fowler and Vatanen return from injury..

Mike Green Detroit Red Wings
Green is an unrestricted free agent next July and will https://www.tormapleleafsfans.com/ron-hainsey-jersey-c-6.html likely be the prize blueline rental of the trade deadline, since the Red Wings are a longshot to make the playoffs..
The 31 year old may not be a good fit for what the Leafs are looking for, since he is offensive minded 11 points in 10 games and not known for being adept in his own end, but Toronto may be one of the few contending teams with the ability to take on most of his 6 Million cap hit and give an aging Detroit club young assets in exchange..

Noah Hanifin Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes are the Anaheim Ducks of the Eastern Conference. Carolina is stacked on defense, with veteran Justin Faulk under contract for another two years at 4.83 Million per season and just locked up youngsters Brett Pesce for six years and Jaccob Slavin for seven years..

GM Ron Francis also has first round blueline prospects Haydn Fleury and Jake Bean in the pipeline and Trevor van Riemsdyk up for a new contract next summer. Hanifin will be looking for big money on a long term deal as Pesce and Slavin received, but with Carolina being a budget team, they may use the 2015 fifth overall pick to bolster their offense, which may not be good enough to get them to the post season..

Oliver Ekman Larsson Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes started out 0 8 1 under new head coach Rick Tocchet, likely wasting another season in Ekman Larsson’s prime.

The 26 year old’s contract expires at the end of the 2018 19 season and at a certain point https://www.tormapleleafsfans.com/morgan-rielly-jersey-c-5.html, Arizona GM John Chayka may have to deal the All Star defenseman if he is not open to signing an extension next summer.
The cost for Ekman Larsson might be prohibitive but if the Leafs are convinced they are a difference making blueliner away from making a legitimate run at the Cup, they may be willing to pay the price.

Jacob Trouba Winnipeg Jets
Trouba is 23, eligible for arbitration next summer. Based on the previous contract negotiation squabble in 2016, Trouba will likely not agree to anything more than a two year deal https://www.tormapleleafsfans.com/calle-rosen-jersey-c-4.html, which will take him to unrestricted free agency..

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff faces the prospect of getting a king’s ransom for Trouba, who a club can re sign next summer to a long term extension or keep him and potentially lose him for nothing in 2020.

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