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Maple Leafs Roster Evaluation: Areas in Need of Improvement

In the pursuit of the second round once more, an evaluation shows the Maple Leafs need to bolster the roster at this 2024 NHL trade deadline.

As the 2023-2024 season trade deadline approaches at an alarming rate, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be looking to bolster their roster with the necessary upgrades. From inconsistent goaltending to what feels like an almost non-existent blue line, the Maple Leafs have some areas on the roster that need improvements. For the team to make it past the first round again, a quick roster evaluation provides evidence more needs to be done.

Maple Leafs Lack of Authority

With the loss of some key players last season such as Luke Schenn and Noel Acciari, the Leafs should look to regain that grit that is ever-so-valuable in the postseason. A Schenn reunion is not a farfetched idea, as the Predators are barely hanging above .500 with a record of 26-23-2. They might look into selling him. A deal for the defenseman would kill two birds with one stone, as it would drastically upgrade the lacking defense, as well as add the grit that has been missing from his time gone from the team.

Should Luke Schenn return to the Maple Leafs?

Another valuable addition to the team could be forward on the Minnesota Wild Marcus Foligno. So far this season, the Wild are sitting at a 21-23-5 record, 27th in the entire league. On top of a lackluster season, the captain Jared Spurgeon, who is a top defenseman for the Wild, has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. Injuries combined with underperformance could convince the Wild to sell this deadline. If they do, Foligno would bolster the bottom six of the Leafs while also adding the needed grit.

The Need to Bolster the Defense

The lack of presence on the Maple Leafs’ blueline has truly been noticed this season. Most of the team’s defensemen have not played up to normal standards. For example, Timothy Liljegren this season in 31 games has only managed to record nine points, and his impact on the ice has not been where it needs to be. Meanwhile, 40-year-old Mark Giordano has only registered six points in 33 games this season. The Leafs are in dire need of upgrades to the blue line, and it needs to come this deadline.

Chris Tanev Maple Leafs trade talk

The Leafs top target should be a right-shot defenseman from the Calgary Flames, Chris Tanev. Tanev brings the lockdown defense that the Leafs desire, and he is capable of efficiently creating plays from the offensive and defensive zones. There is talk the Leafs are heavily pursuing Tanev. However, the cost is a hurdle as Toronto doesn’t have a second-round pick to give in exchange.

If that deal can’t be made, another reliable option would be a defenseman from the Philadelphia Flyers, Sean Walker. Walker is on pace for having his best season yet registering 18 points in 51 games. Walker would replenish the lack of productivity from Liljegren and would prove to be a valuable asset to the Leafs’ blue line.

Goaltending Issues

Admittedly, goaltending should not be the main focus for the Leafs this deadline. That said, as of the date of this article, Joseph Woll has been injured for 25 games (and counting!) This lack of competent goaltending has left the Leafs needing to rely on an underperforming Ilya Samsonov and a 34-year-old Martin Jones. Although Jones and Samsonov have done the job, things could go south at any moment. Looking into goaltending options wouldn’t kill the Leafs.

Marc-Andre Fleury Maple Leafs

Notable options could include trading for the Minnesota Wild’s 39-year-old goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury. The former Vezina winner is a distinguished Hall of Famer. He brings playoff experience to the table, winning three Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins during his 13-year tenure with the team. Otherwise, if the Leafs wish to look younger, they could pan their eyes toward the West Coast. The idea would be to strike a bargain with a seller in the San Jose Sharks. Their target would be 27-year-old goaltender Kaapo Kähkönen. Kähkönen has a .901% this season — not bad on a team that is 31st in the league.

Next Article: A Deep Dive into the Philadelphia Flyers Promising Prospects (



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