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Maple Leafs sign Chris Tanev to 6-year contract worth $4.5M AAV

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Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Arun Srinivasan
20 days ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs signed Chris Tanev to a six-year contract with an average annual value of $4.5 million, the team confirmed Monday.
 
Tanev was widely considered to be one of the best defenceman available on this year’s market and the Maple Leafs acquired his free agent rights from the Dallas Stars in exchange for forward Max Ellis and a seventh-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft on Saturday. Treliving said that he wanted to get a head start in negotiations with Tanev and now both parties have struck a new deal before free agency officially begins Monday.
“We want to jump the queue here as best we could and get to him before free agency started,” Treliving said via Daily Faceoff’s Matt Larkin. “I know the player well. We’ll get to work on it now.”
Tanev will almost certainly slot in on Toronto’s top pair and it seems likely that new head coach Craig Berube will pair him with Morgan Rielly to start the regular season. The 34-year-old defenceman excelled for the Dallas Stars upon being acquired at the trade deadline. Dallas controlled a 62 percent share of the expected goals at 5-on-5 when Tanev was on the ice in 19 regular season games via Natural Stat Trick and a 54 percent share during the playoffs, before losing the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Finals.
The veteran defenceman is one of the NHL’s shot-blocking specialists, but he’s terrific at zone exits and is the steady right-handed presence the Maple Leafs have been looking for during some critical years of the Auston Matthews Era. It’s a homecoming for Tanev, who starred at East York Collegiate before excelling as a late-bloomer at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
There are concerns about Tanev’s durability given his age and his exceptional willingness to throw himself in front of pucks but from a pure talent and value perspective for a Maple Leafs that desperately needs a prolonged playoff run, it’s some clever work from Treliving, even if some may be uneasy about the annual average value and cap implications.

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