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Maple Leafs’ key trade deadline acquisitions head to Stars, Kings in free agency

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Photo credit:Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Arun Srinivasan
12 days ago
If Monday’s free agency frenzy is a reminder of anything, it’s about the transient nature of life in professional sports. One minute you’re considered a prized asset, the next minute you’re rendered expendable and this is true of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ilya Lyubushkin and Joel Edmundson, who the Maple Leafs acquired ahead of the 2024 trade deadline, both found new teams on Monday.
Lyubushkin signed a two-year deal worth $3.25 million annually with the Dallas Stars via Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. The right-handed defenceman provides next to no offense but he was a competent right-shot option and that was enough to elevate him onto Toronto’s top pair with Morgan Rielly after TJ Brodie’s form dropped off precipitously during the 2023-24 campaign. Lyubushkin recorded four assists in 19 regular season games with the Maple Leafs but was quietly one of the team’s best players against the Boston Bruins, recorded three assists during the seven-game first-round loss.
Edmundson reached a four-year deal worth $3.8 million with the Los Angeles Kings via Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli. A punishing physical presence who clears players from the front of the net, the veteran defenceman was added to bring an element of toughness and Stanley Cup-winning pedigree to the Maple Leafs. It was a mixed stint as he was often was paired with Timothy Liljegren and had to offset some of his defensive mistakes.
Lyubushkin and Edmunson effectively served their purposes but Chris Tanev and Oliver Ekman-Larsson — especially Tanev — represent a major upgrade for the Maple Leafs’ blue line. Tanev is widely considered one of the best defensive players in the NHL, while Ekman-Larsson can provided some offensive pop against bottom-six opponents at this stage of his career.
Connor Dewar is a restricted free agent and at the time of this filing, hasn’t reached a deal. It is entirely possible that Toronto’s 2024 trade deadline cohort were rentals, which is an increasing function of the salary cap era machinations.

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