It seems very safe to assume that the Ryan Smith purchase and relocation of the Coyotes to Utah is going to happen. So how does that affect the Leafs?

Remember this line: If you have time use it.

This truism, alleged to have been coined by Lou Lamoriello, is a good thing to consider when a team needs to do something in terms of player signings or trades. It's a good place to begin because it argues against moves that only seem necessary in the moment. But it hinges on the word "if". Sometimes you don't really know if you have time or not. The future can take a hard turn on you.

Brad Treliving needs to get a defenceman. We all know this, and we know he's tried at the draft last year, in free agency, in season, at the deadline, and he walked away from deals because he didn't want to pay the asking price. Sometimes the other side walked away because the Leafs required salary retention.

Treliving's hesitation to spend is a subset of the "if you have time" philosophy. He didn't make a trade, and tried to fill the gap with John Klingberg. When Klingberg couldn't actually maintain a gap or any other part of a defender's job, Treliving went for two cheap depth defenders at the deadline. He chose good enough for now on the theory that later he can fix it properly. Later as in this summer.

And now the entire fabric of the NHL is about to rapidly change. Smith is going to spend money on a team with over $40 million in cap space next season. Utah is going to enter the NHL as a kind of hybrid expansion team/relocation project. And what they bring from Arizona is very few players under contract – only four forwards not on ELCs have term beyond next season – but an absolute mass of draft picks. They have 10 second-rounders in the next three years and all of their first-rounders.

But you know what they don't have? They don't have a single defenceman signed for next season. Five of the players currently on their roster are RFAs, and most of them have arbitration rights, but Sean Durzi is their top guy in both salary and usage. He's been their 1D all season.

The team has been a null factor for years, not just on the ice, but in the quest for top players as well. They take contract dumps only if the player is on LTIR. They don't sign free agents, and they will trade good players when they need to be paid. The only nod to looking like a competitive team is some middling term, middling AAV deals that are likely slight overpays to those four forwards. The only thing that's gone up in Arizona is the number of draft picks.

With this sale and relocation, they are a hockey team in the market for everything. Scouts, coaches, analytics – you name it, they will be poaching it from other teams. But crucial to the Leafs' summer project, they are also in the market for top pairing defenders and they have money, cap space and draft picks – three things the Leafs don't have much of.

Defencemen are harder to find than forwards if you want someone better than the middling guys you already have. The more teams there are looking to build up, the harder it is to win a bidding war. And the hardest opponent of all is a team that isn't going to balk at free agent prices. They want to come out of the gate next season with a team very much elevated from what Arizona ever put on the ice. Durzi only gets two more games as the 1D.

So, Brad, did you have time after all? Did balking at the prices last year win you a better shot this year?

On the bright side, if the Leafs want another middling guy, Utah will have a surfeit of unsigned RFAs who might be available once they fill in above them. Maybe even Durzi himself. You know, he is awfully good on the power play and he shoots right. They could do worse.