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Who will be back in 2020-21? – The defense and goalies

The Leafs are well into their offseason, and while there’s still hockey to be played, the Leafs focuses are on next season and what improvements they can make to the roster to finally put them over the hump.

The good news for Kyle Dubas is that this will be, to some extent, his easiest offseason. He doesn’t have to pull all-nighters to win over John Tavares, he doesn’t need to go down to the wire to extend William Nylander, and he certainly doesn’t have to deal with Darren Ferris. But, he does need to address the holes the Leafs have on defense, whether it be through trade, free agency, or internally, and also continue to add prospect depth to the organization, something we’ve been lacking due to the disasters that were the 2016 and 2017 drafts. We might be looking at a similar team as last year, or a completely overhauled roster, as Dubas appears to not be letting any emotions get in the way of his moves so far.

So, let’s look at the team from top to bottom, and figure out who will be back. I will throw people into one of four different categories: Will be back, probably coming back, might be back, and likely gone. Today, we’ll look at the defense and the goalies.

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Morgan Rielly

Status: Probably coming back

Considering that he’s a big part of the leadership core and the blueline, I highly doubt he gets dealt, but for a team looking to upgrade their blueline, and Rielly’s defensive game not quite being there, I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets dealt either. I’d still like to see him actually get some playing time with a good two-way defenseman for the first time in his career before getting rid of him though.

Cody Ceci

Status: Likely gone

Please. Can he please be gone? It wouldn’t surprise me if some sucker gave him lots of money in free agency, so I’d hope that he’d be priced out for the Leafs, although I wouldn’t really want him back if he was on a league minimum deal.

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Jake Muzzin

Status: Will be back

Set to be the Leafs highest paid defenseman next season, Muzzin is earning of the position, considering he was easily the Leafs best defenseman this season, and will be an essential part next season, especially if the Leafs don’t add any blueliners this season.

Tyson Barrie

Status: Likely gone

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While I think his Leafs tenure went a little bit better than most people do, Barrie still had a rough go this year, and based on the language from both Dubas and Barrie on the topic, it seems like Barrie won’t be back.

Rasmus Sandin

Status: Will be back

The defenseman with the most potential for the Leafs, it’d be hard to see Sandin being traded this offseason unless it was for a high-end defenseman in return. He has a lot of growing room, and still impressed in his rookie season for the Leafs, so he’s probably safe.

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Jan 6, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott (23) tries to get around Edmonton Oilers forward Josh Archibald (15) during the second period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Dermott

Status: Might be back

Considering the depth the Leafs have on the left side of their blueline, the lack of depth on the right side, and his RFA status, Dermott’s name has been out there in trade rumours, so it wouldn’t shock me if he’s a part of a deal. I think the likely scenario is that he starts the season playing on the right side with the Leafs, and then gets moved if he does poorly.

Calle Rosen

Status: Probably coming back

The Leafs must really like Rosen, bringing him back after he was a part of the Kadri-Barrie trade, so I’d imagine they’re keeping him around again this season. He probably starts the season on the Marlies, but he’ll definitely get his shots on the Leafs at some point.

Martin Marincin

Status: Will be back

He was extended for another year, and probably has no trade value, so he’s likely sticking around next year. Marincin will never die.

Justin Holl

Status: Probably coming back

Next season will be the start of his three year, $2 million contract extension, so he’s probably sticking around, unless something changed in that time frame, and the Leafs see his cap hit as too much money on a cap strapped team. It’s possible, but not likely.

Timothy Liljegren

Status: Probably coming back

Liljegren saw a few games with the Leafs this season, and while he looked overwhelmed at times, this was only his third professional season, so he still has plenty of time to develop. The only way he gets traded is if he’s a part of a trade to bring in a big name defenseman, which is very much a possibility.

Kevin Gravel

Status: Might be back

Remember Gravel? He got three games in for the Leafs near the start of the season, but is a UFA, and didn’t really move the needle much, so it wouldn’t shock me if the Leafs moved on from him.

Oct 4, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (31) makes a save in net against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Frederik Andersen

Status: Might be back

For his first time as a Leaf, Freddie is finding himself in trade rumours. After a rough season, and some inconsistencies in the playoffs, the Leafs are currently listening to offers, although they aren’t necessarily shopping him. With his contract up after next season, the Leafs need to start looking for another long term option, and Andersen will probably be too expensive to be that option.

Jack Campbell

Status: Will be back

Campbell’s two year extension that he signed with Los Angeles kicks in this season, and based on what we’ve heard, Campbell will be back. What we don’t know is if it’ll be as a backup, or a 1B with someone like Matt Murray, Thomas Greiss, or Alexander Georgiev.

Kasimir Kaskisuo

Status: Likely gone

While I will miss his vlogs, it seems like at this point the Leafs are moving on from Kaskisuo, hopefully to help Joseph Woll and Ian Scott develop more and possibly be the Freddie replacement we need.