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Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Maple Leafs were once in on Ben Chiarot, but shouldn’t be this time around

The trade deadline is 54 days away and as far away as that seems, it’ll be here before you know it.

With that being said, we have to discuss one player who the Maple Leafs could be looking to trade for.

And that’s Ben Chiarot.

In the latest 32 Thoughts with Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek, the two talked about a few players who could be moving teams ahead of the NHL’s trade deadline.

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One name was Chiarot and where he might end up in the future.

“I do think Chiarot is probably the first because he’s the UFA, and I already think there’s teams jockeying here. I do think there are some teams here who are saying we would like to do this, and we would like to start this as soon as possible. I think St. Louis has been around there, I think Florida’s been around there. I think that’s a player that Calgary has interest in. And just the other team I do wonder about is Toronto.

“Again, I think that the Maple Leafs will be patient and not overreact to some of the things that have been happening lately. But the reason I mention Toronto specifically is that I believe that when [Ben] Chiarot was an unrestricted free agent, and he signed with Montreal, Toronto was in there. And they just couldn’t make it work. But they liked him, he was interested in them, and he is a local guy.”

Friedman never mentioned if Toronto was in on him currently, but for a player who plays a similar game to Jake Muzzin, you’d think the Maple Leafs might be interested.

But Chiarot isn’t like Muzzin.

Although Muzzin hasn’t played the best season, he’s still able to be serviceable when called upon. There might be some glaring turnovers, but a player like him doesn’t forget how to play hockey.

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When you look at a player like Chiarot, you’d like to see the statistics. What we know about him is evident — a big, rough and rugged defenceman.

What do the numbers look like, though? They don’t look good, that’s for sure.

                               Chiarot’s 2021-22 numbers

It’s already clear that this isn’t a player the Maple Leafs should go for. Chiarot isn’t the player he once was — a defenceman who, when in front of the net, made it difficult for you to stay there.

At 30-years-old, his numbers have dropped considerably compared to seasons past. Here’s how each of his last two seasons at five-on-five compare to each other.

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CF% FF% SF% GF% xG% SCF% HDCF% HDGF%
          2020-21 Season 52.82 51.93 52.64 40.00 52.16 52.89 52.36 38.71
          2021-22 Season 45.32 43.74 43.09 34.62 41.63 44.43 42.55 29.73

It doesn’t look good. Each statistic above has dropped nearly 10% over the last year. Chiarot, though, was never someone who put up points. And Toronto wouldn’t likely need him for that as they have Morgan Rielly and others.

But I’m sure they’d want someone with good numbers.

If I was a betting man (which I’m not), I’d say that Kyle Dubas and the Maple Leafs don’t circle back on Chiarot. I’ve seen crazier things happen, yet this wouldn’t make sense at all.

The Maple Leafs want to be a team that can contend and adding Chiarot wouldn’t help their situation.

I believe there are plenty of other defencemen out there who can fit the need of the Maple Leafs, which is a player who fits in the top-four.

We’ll have to wait until closer to the deadline to see what Dubas does.

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(Statistics from Evolving-Hockey.com and naturalstattrick.com)