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NHL Rumours: Toronto Maple Leafs Defenceman Targets in Free Agency

Welcome to another edition of NHL Rumours! The Stanley Cup will be in the building once again on Tuesday. Can the Edmonton Oilers fight another day or is a champion crowned? Time will tell. However, the offseason is still a full go and everything is getting closer. Today’s rumours swirl around the Toronto Maple Leafs and their defence group.

NHL Rumours

Rumour: Nick Kypreos from the Toronto Star discusses defenceman that the Toronto Maple Leafs are targeting

What an offseason it has been for the Toronto Maple Leafs. After a disappointing first round exit to the hands of their rival Boston Bruins, they’ve shuffled the deck. Out the door went Sheldon Keefe and in the door is Craig Berube. The team has a chunk of pending free agents and roster turnover is in full swing.

The biggest buzz is around star forward Mitch Marner and if he will be on the move or not. However, General Manger Brad Treliving has players in mind to bring onboard. One area of need is defenceman, which is no surprise to anyone. The group did a good job at the end of the first round series, but it is time to bring in higher impact players. According to Kypreos, the Maple Leafs have key names in mind.

Maple Leafs Defenceman Targets

It is nice that the latest NHL Rumours are about adding to the club not subtracting. The good thing for the Maple Leafs is that they have a projected $18 million to spend this offseason. However, they have three players locked up for next season on the back end. Also, two of the three are shutdown defenceman in Simon Benoit and Jake McCabe and the only puck mover they have is Morgan Rielly. The player in mind solves that problem.

The player that the Maple Leafs could look to target is Florida Panthers defenceman Brandon Montour. Montour has been everything you could ask for and has brought an influx of offence to the Panthers blue line. During the 2022-23 season, Montour popped off for 16 goals and 73 points, which were both career highs. His production took a dive this season, but he’s been great for the club.

Montour excels in transition and is a smooth skater. Also, he excels in generating offensive chances and is a weapon on the power play. That would bode well for the Maple Leafs, who had the seventh best power play during the regular season. Montour also isn’t afraid to be physical and would fit how Berube wants to play. Berube went on to say how he wants his team to play by saying this,

“We don’t want to get outworked ever,” Berube said about his coaching style a few weeks ago. “We want to play a north game, we want to play fast, and we want to be a heavy team”

Montour fits that to a tee. But there is also another name that is circled on the list.

Circling Back On Tanev

Montour is not the only player on the list, which adds to this edition of NHL Rumours. Defenceman Chris Tanev is a player that has not left the vault for Treliving. Treliving is familiar with Tanev to their days with the Calgary Flames, so a reunion is not out of the question. Adding Tanev would give the Maple Leafs a player that excels at both ends of the ice and would improve their top two pairs. Montour would be the best grab, but Tanev is also a great option. It’ll be interesting to see how Treliving approaches the offseason and with holes to fill.

Main Photo: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports


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