I’m pretty sure I know what the answer would be if you asked 100 Toronto Maple Leafs’ fans this question: “Do you believe the Maple Leafs need to add a physical defenseman?” The answer would be a resounding yes – maybe 85 percent?
Jake Muzzin’s Injury Highlighted a Maple Leafs’ Need
When Jake Muzzin went out recently with a concussion suffered in the 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers, it became obvious to many Maple Leafs’ fans that without Muzzin in the lineup the defensive unit was less physically imposing than it should be. The question many fans started to ask was, can Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas land a stud defender in the trade?
Really, fans don’t seem to be as interested in a skilled defenseman as much as a big, physical one. One name that’s been coming up in rumors is Josh Manson from the Anaheim Ducks. Manson is currently on COVID-19 NHL protocol, but he’s not injured. However, he’s not been very productive this season.
And, perhaps that’s all for the better. He’s a UFA after this season, and his salary is currently $4.1 million. No one will likely line up to pay that much for his services after his current contract is expired. He might be a good rental. Forget that he struggles offensively, so what? The Maple Leafs don’t care that much about his offense – sort of like Zach Bogosian last season. Steady, but little to no offensive upside.
Who Cares if Josh Manson Never Scores a Point?
However, the fact that Manson hasn’t scored a single point in 14 games could matter little to the Maple Leafs. His last assist was against the Buffalo Sabres on December 7. The 30-year-old Manson has had a 37-point season in 2017-18, but he hasn’t reached even 10 points on a season since the 2018-19 season. So far on the 2021-22 season, he has three goals and three assists in 41 games.
Yeah, again, so what? He’s like T.J. Brodie – doesn’t score, plays great!
Manson is 6-foot-3 and 224 pounds. He’s experienced and he’s physical. He blocks shots and he hits. He might be just the kind of a defender that this Maple Leafs’ team could desperately use.
If he were brought in, could he become the kind of addition that would put the team over the top during the playoffs? There’s a chance. The question that remains is whether the organization thinks he’s better than what they have in Justin Holl. Some critics say that Manson and Holl might be the same player, except that Manson is on the other side of the fence where the grass looks greener.
Manson is a big, physical, stay-at-home defenseman who would give the team something they don’t have and could use. He might be just what the doctor ordered to solidify the defense. If he were part of the roster, Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe might play him with one of the young Swedish defensemen – I would think Rasmus Sandin – or could put him with Morgan Rielly or even Muzzin to upgrade the shutdown pairing that Justin Holl was part of.
But, Would the Anaheim Ducks Give Manson Up?
Right now, the Anaheim Ducks are in a playoff spot. However, they’re not that many points above .500. It’s more that they’ve played about seven more games than the Canadian teams in the Pacific Division. I personally don’t think they’ll make the playoffs this season, nor do I think the organization even expected to make the playoffs this season.
If the Ducks fall from the playoff hunt, they’ll likely like to move Manson – for something. If they continue to hold onto a playoff spot, Manson is probably going nowhere. However, if the Ducks are out of the playoffs, Manson might be good target.
He might not even be likely to demand a first-round draft choice from the Maple Leafs headed the other way.
/ 3 days ago
It's not clear what's ailing Nikolaj Ehlers or how long he'll be out for...
/ 4 days ago
Are the Ottawa Senators among the teams that might be showing an interest in...
/ 6 days ago
Mike Johnson of TSN notes that Vladimir Tarasenko might be a great fit for...
/ 1 week ago
Wayne Gretzky had a lot of positive things to say about Edmonton Oilers' goaltender...
/ 1 week ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs lost 4-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins last night. What were...
There are rumors out of St. Louis that the Blues might be seriously considering...
Frank Seravalli listed five potential trade options the Toronto Maple Leafs might be looking...
Actor Ryan Reynolds has confirmed that he is interested in purchasing the Ottawa Senators...
/ 2 weeks ago
Leon Draisaitl is calling out his Oilers’ teammates (including himself) for their inability to...
/ 2 weeks ago
Matthew Tkachuk was suspended two games for putting his stick in the face of...