It’s been no secret that the Leafs have been looking for answers in the bottom two pairs of their defense this year. Muzzin and Holl were their shut down pair for the past two seasons, and done it rather well considering. But this year both have not looked nearly the same, and it’s been hurting the Leafs.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy replacement in-house. Their third pair (and occasional replacement for one of Muzzin/Holl on the second pair) is made up of a trio of younger, smaller guys: Rasmus Sandin, Travis Dermott, and Timothy Liljegren. Sandin has been the best of the three, but he’s a lefty and the youngest with no experience playing on the right. Dermott is also a lefty but the oldest and has more experience playing on the right, but hasn’t been as good. Liljegren is the only right shot of the three, but has been up and down this year in his first full season in the NHL.
And behind them? A bunch of AHL guys who would be best served staying there if everyone else is healthy.
The Leafs also don’t have a lot of cap room, and not many assets to swing a big deal to get some of the big names rumoured to be on the trading block. And anyone else who they may be able to fit under the cap do not feel like huge improvements.
But maybe the Leafs can make a key acquisition for a defensively minded defenseman, who is big, has a long reach, can shut down transitions, can PK, and has over 200 NHL games of experience without breaking the bank. They could do it without even giving up any assets, and just sign them as a free agent.
You see, the Olympics are going on right now, and they are made up entirely of players who do not have an NHL contract. That makes them all free agents. And right now, there is a certain defenseman who checks all the boxes of what the Leafs need, who is also tied for the lead in goals for defenseman, while leading his team in ice time.
You know who it is.
Leafs massively outplay the Canucks, lose the game | by Katya and Omar
Can Josh Ho-Sang turn his Olympic opportunity into a job with the Maple Leafs? | by The Athletic. Answer: only if he can start playing RD!
Report: Maple Leafs making some inroads on a Nick Ritchie trade | transcript by MLHS
OTHER HOCKEY LINKS
Habs acquire G Hammond from Wild | by TSN
Switzerland beats ROC, 4-2, advances to semifinals | by Gabriella Fundaro
And we’ll finish with a nice and fun story...
Don White, the #Avs assistant equipment manager, is a huge Cincinnati Bengals fan.— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) February 11, 2022
The Colorado players bought him tickets to the Super Bowl on Sunday so he can see the Bengals live, and they also paid for his airfare and hotel.