Ok so let's be honest - the headline was designed to get your attention. BUT this is something that really warrants some debate! With the recent acquisition of Beauchemin, and the departure of contract busts such as Pavel Kubina ($5M) and Bryan McCabe ($5.75M), the Leafs may have the best defence core in the league. If you disagree with me about that, then at least look at the bang we're getting for our buck in Leafs Nation. I'm way too lazy to seek out the contracts of every team - I'll leave that to the pro bloggers (this is my first FanPost and I have to nap still before my hockey game tonight). But with Kaberle ($4.25M), Komisarek ($4.5M), Beauchemin ($3.8M), Schenn ($1.25M cap hit) and a healthy Van Ryn ($3.35M), is there a stronger core in the league with such value? The only blemish on this list is Finger ($3.5M).
I'll post the Leafs as well as the other Top 10 teams in Goals Against and their defence core in 2008-2009. At the bottom, the Leafs top 11 defencemen (and prospects) for 2009-2010. I included Jeff Finger because he's getting paid at an elite level (for some reason). I think the Leafs new defence is among the best. (Edit: goaltending of course played a part in the defensive success of more than a few of these teams. I acknowledge this.) (Re-edit: LEAFS HAVE THE MONSTER NOW! SO ADD THAT TO THE DEFENSE!!)
#30 Leafs (2008-2009)
#10 Florida Panthers
#9 Columbus Blue Jackets
Toronto Maple Leafs Defence 2009-2010 (let me know if I missed an obvious prospect - does Carl Gunnarsson have a chance I don't know his deal):
Mike Van Ryn
That is a pretty elite core of defenceman if you ask me.
Go Leafs Go