Updated: Oct 16, 2020
It’s no question that the Leafs would love to acquire a reliable right shot defensemen
this offseason. Acquiring a dependable right shot defensemen with good defensive upsides isn’t easy to come by. Considering that Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci are most likely not returning next season, and with Travis Dermott set to become an RFA at the end of the season, here are three possible options that the Leafs could consider:
3- Dustin Byfuglien, 35
2019-2020 Stats: N/A
Without a doubt Byfuglien would be an interesting acquisition, the 35 year old hasn‘t even played a game in the 2019-2020 season! It’s hard to know if the Minnesota native will play another game in the NHL, but it’s difficult to imagine that he wouldn’t chase another cup. By parting ways with the Jets organization and abandoning a lot of money, Dustin Byfuglien could look for a fresh start and could come at a cheaper price, something that definitely could catch the eye of Leafs GM Kyle Dubas. The 6 ft 5 machine would bring grittiness, physicality and a powerful shot, he could be what the Leafs are looking for. His big figure could seem as a positive, it is, but could bring negatives, Dustin isn’t a fast skater nor a fit player, it would be a surprising move to bring him in but for sure not something to rule out.
2- Connor Murphy, 27
2019-2020: 5 Goals, 14 Assists, 58 Games Played
Connor Murphy is definitely a realistic option for the Leafs, he would bring acceptable offensiveness and good defensive upsides, weighing in at 212 lbs, the 6 ft 4 Defensemen would be a great addition to the blue line. Bringing him in as a reliable physical right shot defender is exactly what the Leafs could use. It would definitely take a young forward like Kerfoot, Johnsson or Kapanen, even possibly some prospects to get this deal done, but it‘s definitely something to consider.
1- Josh Manson
2019-2020 Stats: 1 Goal, 8 Assists, 50 Games Played
Josh Manson would be a great addition for the Leafs. Despite only having 9 points in 50 games, Josh is very strong in his own end. Sitting at 6 ft 3, 224 lbs, he provides a big frame and physicality. Anaheim isn’t necessarily looking to trade the Illinois native, because a guy like him is a very valuable player for a rebuilding team. While it would take a lot to acquire him, it might be worth it. For a team like the Ducks, they might want a young prospect like Jeremy Bracco and very promising defensemen Timothy Liljegren. It may be risky to trade a guy like Liljegren right now but to be a serious cup contender, this might be what it takes to finally bring the Stanley Cup to Toronto.