Toronto Maple Leafs acquire Chris Tanev’s UFA signing rights from Dallas Stars

Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
14 days ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired the signing rights to pending UFA defenceman Chris Tanev from the Dallas Stars in exchange for forward Max Ellis and a seventh-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft, the clubs announced Saturday afternoon.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report that the Leafs were gearing up to trade for Tanev, who split the 2023-24 season between the Calgary Flames and Stars. The 34-year-old defenceman can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Tanev collected one goal and five points while logging an average of 19:13 of ice time in 19 games with the Stars after being acquired ahead of the 2024 trade deadline. He added two assists and averaged 22:17 per night in 19 games with Dallas in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Maple Leafs now have approximately 48 hours to come to an agreement on a new contract with Tanev before he can test the open market. Ellis, the player going the other way in the deal, is a 5’9″, 24-year-old AHL forward who scored 14 points in 36 games with the Marlies last season.
Before joining the Stars, Tanev spent parts of four seasons in Calgary, where he further cemented himself as one of the top shutdown defenders in the National Hockey League. Tanev helped the Flames reach Round 2 of the playoffs in 2022 and acted as a steadying influence on the likes of Noah Hanifin and Oliver Kylington in the team’s top four.
Tanev began his NHL career as a member of the Vancouver Canucks in the 2010-11 season after signing with the team as an undrafted player from the Rochester Institute of Technology. The 6’2″ right-handed defender spent parts of 10 seasons with the Canucks to begin his career, helping the team qualify for the postseason four times.
Under general manager Brad Treliving (now of the Leafs), the Flames signed Tanev to a four-year, $4.5 million AAV contract in the 2020 unrestricted free agency period. The Flames eventually received a 2024 second-round pick and prospect Artem Grushnikov from Dallas in exchange for Tanev.
If the Leafs are able to sign Tanev, he’ll join a defensive group that also includes Morgan Rielly, Jake McCabe, Simon Benoit, and Conor Timmins, as well as RFA Timothy Liljegren. Tanev, who will be 35 in December, has 33 goals and 190 points in 792 career NHL games with Vancouver, Calgary, and Dallas; he’s added 13 points in 60 playoff contests.

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