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You’re the GM, which defenceman should the Maple Leafs want from the Flames?

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Photo credit:Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
3 months ago
There’s about three months left in the conversation about who the Maple Leafs are going to add this season we’ll have plenty of time to play GM and come up with awful trade proposals. The Zadorov trade request and the reported Leafs interest in both Zadorov and Tanev has certainly given us a reason to start talking a lot about the Flames and their blueline early. The Leafs have also had interest in Noah Hanifin dating all the way back to when the Leafs selected Marner instead of Hanifin, who Mike Babcock had been pushing for. It seems that anytime Hanifin’s name is mentioned, the Leafs are mentioned as well.
It’s in that spirit that we are asking you to tell us in the comments:
If you are trading for a rental defenceman from Calgary, who do you want and what are you giving up?
Here are some responses from the TLN writers:

Bennett Jull:

I would really want Rasmus Andersson, but Calgary isn’t going to trade him. Realistically speaking, they have a large class of pending UFA’s. Hanifin, Zadorov, and Tanev highlight a class of 5 d-men on expiring contracts. Hanifin is the pick of the bunch, and his contract negotiations have apparently been put on hold given Calgary’s struggles. It’s important to note he has an 8 team no trade clause. His value is the highest, and he would cost Toronto the most. Zadorov has gone public in recent weeks, claiming he wants to be traded. The large and physical Russian would add a nasty element to Toronto’s blueline, but he would need to come at a reduced cap hit. The notion of playing him in their top 4 is a little crazy to me, I see him as a bottom pairing guy. Tanev makes a lot of sense. He has a house in the Beaches, he’s a local guy, and his underlying numbers have been very strong this year. I think he is the most likely to end up in Toronto, but I think Treliving is going to go after both Tanev and Zadorov. What would I give up? Well, Klingberg would go the other way in order to make the money work. The 5th Toronto acquired for Sam Lafferty would be included. One of Alex Steeves or Nick Abruzzese could be included, perhaps McMann as well. The Leafs will have to include more, and while certain prospects will be deemed “untouchable”, Topi Niemela seems like a prospect that Treliving could be willing to part with. Another mid-high draft pick could be included, and perhaps another NHL player. David Kampf spring to mind, and following his slow start to the season, his loss in the lineup could be mitigated by giving Pontus Holmberg a steady run. All in all, a worthwhile pick or prospect, that 5th rounder, one of Steeves/Abruzzese and perhaps something else seems more than fair to me. Your move, Brad!

James Reeve:

For me, it has to be Zadorov. He’s defensive astute and is far different to the other defensemen that the Leafs have, bar maybe Liljegren who is injured. The offence is capable of putting up points, now what the team needs more of is the traditional stay and home blueliner that makes life easier for Samsonov and Woll. If it’s possible to offload Klingberg, I think you have to take that opportunity. Reaves likely won’t be going anywhere, sadly, so more assets such as draft picks are likely needed, although not many as he is on an expiring contract and the Flames will want to get at least something for him rather than simply losing him to free agency. Hanifin would be great, but I think the cost would be too much to get him, both for now and in future if the team wanted to extend him.

Shane Seney:

The Flames make perfect sense as a trade partner and something I’ve covered since the season started.  Zadorov makes the most sense but realistically him, Tanev or Hanifin would be a huge addition for the Leafs.  A first rounder would certainly be a part of my offer and I’d try to sell Craig Conroy and company on a couple of the Marlies including Topi Niemela and Nick Abruzzese. Essentially if I’m Treliving, any prospect not named Fraser Minten or Easton Cowan is on the table at this point.
Zadorov’s game suits the Leafs needs in multiple ways, and it sounds like he’d be open to a trade to Toronto, however I wonder if Tanev is the one in the end the Leafs end up “settling” on.

Michael Mazzei:

Zadorov is easy answer and the continued rumours suggesting the Leafs are one of his top choices makes him the ideal pick. As for what will go the other way, you would need to ship out a defender who makes a similar amount of money so that way it is more fair, hence why John Klingberg makes the most sense. Calgary is likely in need of some fresh blood down their lineup and the Leafs could add a younger player such as Nick Abruzzese. Toss in a third round pick and that package could be enough to entice the Flames to accept the offer.

Alex Hobson:

The ideal and perfect world trade target from the Flames would be Rasmus Andersson, but I don’t see a world where they even consider moving on from him, so out of the ones who are rumoured to be available, Chris Tanev would be my number one pick. We saw a complete shift in Morgan Rielly’s game last season after the Leafs gave him a solid, steady right-handed partner in Luke Schenn, and bringing in Tanev would give them that luxury again. Rielly has had no issues to heal this season, but I can’t imagine the Leafs want T.J. Brodie logging top-pair minutes in the playoffs.
The idea of Nikita Zadorov is also a fun one, although he doesn’t meet what the Leafs need quite like Tanev does. Still, bringing in a 6-foot-6 defenceman who hits like a truck and can provide some offence can’t hurt the team. In terms of what I’d give up if I were Treliving, I’d be trying to pluck from their wealth of “almost NHL-ready” prospects they have considering the lack of draft capital. Somebody like Nick Abruzzese or Alex Steeves, perhaps another prospect, and a mid-round pick would be a comfortable deal for someone like Zadorov. If you factor in Tanev, you’re probably looking at a first round pick as well. But if it’s one or the other, I’m capping my offer out at a mid-rounder and one of those players I mentioned.

Jon Steitzer:

This is a process of elimination thing for me and all things considered I’m more than happy to let other teams pick away at the Flames blueline and the Leafs go a different route. That being said, Brad Treliving is very familiar with this group and there are some advantages to familiarity, so let’s breakdown the key three.
Zadorov has been used as a 5th defenceman in Calgary, a high minute fifth defenceman, but still the level of competition he is facing is not that of Andersson, Weegar, Hanifin or Tanev. The idea of the Maple Leafs taking a struggling team’s 5th defenceman and using him in their top four does not seem like much of an upgrade and feels like a situation similar to the acquisition of Jake McCabe. I don’t doubt Zadorov could be support to a top defenceman in one of the top two pairings, but he isn’t going to drive that pairing.
Chris Tanev’s injury history is what scares me. The last couple of seasons have been better than his time in Vancouver but you are putting a lot of faith in him being available at the time of year when you need him the most and asking him to be close to 100% healthy come playoff time seems like a lot to put on a 34 year old.
That brings us to Noah Hanifin. He lacks the hardnosed approach to defence as the other two players mentioned have but even more than needing a physical defender, the Leafs need a good defenceman who unquestionably fits into the top four of any team in the league. That’s Hanifin. I’d go for Hanifin especially since the price the Leafs would be paying wouldn’t be significantly more than what you’d give up for Tanev or Zadorov.
I hate trade proposals, but since I asked everyone else to come up with one, I guess I better do one too and to get Hanifin it probably starts with the Leafs 2024 1st round pick, likely a high upside prospect like Ovchinnikov or a close to NHL ready option like Alex Steeves, and then a player the Flames can use like David Kampf who also helps make the salary work. Then you get to work on an extension for Hanifin.
In the coming days we will be getting our friends from Flames Nation to weigh-in on the Leafs/Flames trade possibility from a Calgary perspective, but for now let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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