Giordano’s injury adds urgency to the Maple Leafs hunt for a defenceman

Photo credit:Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff
Shane Seney
2 months ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been battling the injury bug all season long and after 20 games, it’s time for general manager Brad Treliving to get serious on the trade market.
While Treliving’s admitted he won’t be able to trade his way out of all the team’s downfalls, with John Klingberg likely done for the season, Timothy Liljegren still battling an ankle injury and now Mark Giordano’s injured, the Maple Leafs need some more resources for their blue line. Sounds like Treliving has been active among the group chats:
Toronto’s GM will need to be creative in finalizing any trade as the Maple Leafs don’t have much cap space and significant trade capital to dangle in front of other GM’s across the league. It will be tough, but it’s not impossible.
The Maple Leafs blue line is thin and will all due respect to Simon Benoit and William Lagesson, Toronto has several players playing more minutes than they should be. Treliving is known as an executive who loves to be involved in as many trade discussions as possible and he’s been getting his feet wet in conversations the past several weeks. With the latest injury to Giordano, who is expected to miss significant time with an upper-body injury, the Maple Leafs are a team to watch on the trade market.

Treliving Has Options to Consider Trading For

After suggesting Sean Walker of the Philadelphia Flyers as a trade target recently who checks a lot of boxes, there’s several blueliners who stand out as potential targets and make sense for the Maple Leafs. The shortlist likely includes these three d-men:
Chris Tanev, Calgary Flames: Someone Treliving knows very well from their days together in Calgary, Tanev is a perfect fit for the Leafs. He’s from the area and likely approves a move to Toronto, and he also happens to be a force defensively and is right handed. It’s not ideal having Conor Timmins as the only right-handed option at the moment. As for the numbers, Tanev makes $4.5 million this season and is someone the Leafs would likely acquire, even if a contract extension isn’t in place for the 33-year-old. Salary rentention could come into play however, as the Flames can drive the asking price up with each dollar they retain. Tanev kills penalties effectively, blocks shots and is defense first, all of the time. Keep an eye on Leafs/Flames trade discussions in the coming weeks, they should be heating up considerably.
Andrew Peeke, Columbus Blue Jackets: Peeke is someone I’ve linked to the Maple Leafs earlier this season and it seems his name is still hot on the trade market. The Blue Jackets are open to just about anything trade wise, so if Treliving is willing to meet the demands, a deal could be coming soon. Peeke is a 6-foot-3 blueliner who loves to play a physical game, but unfortunately for him, has only seen four games of action this season. The 25-year-old is signed through the 2025-26 season at $2.75 million per season, a figure the Maple Leafs could work with given their financial constraints. Treliving will need to decide if Peeke would actually move the needle in Toronto.
Nikita Zadorov, Calgary Flames: If it was up to Zadorov and his agent, ‘Big Z’ would be in blue and white already. Zadorov hasn’t been happy with his ice time or with the work ethic of some of his Flames’ teammates and he’s requested a trade. GM Craig Conroy acknowledged the ask and admits the team will do things on their own schedule. Zadorov is a monster at 6-foot-6 and his sandpaper style is a perfect fit for the Maple Leafs. While he’s not right handed, the Russian blueliner has played some minutes on his off side and could handle the ask. Ideally, the Maple Leafs find a way to add both Zadorov and Tanev, but that will take some serious salary cap gymnastics, likely another team involved to help retain money and Treliving parting ways with some of the Leafs best prospects.
While at this point it’s unknown who Treliving is targeting or who he’s willing to part with, one thing is certain, the Maple Leafs GM is working the phones trying to replenish his injury-riddled blue line. And rightfully so. Toronto is in danger of creeping down the Eastern Conference standings if they don’t find some capable replacements for the likes of Klingberg, Liljegren and Giordano.

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