The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to be a very active team this summer, despite the fact that they were just a few seconds away from advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, after grabbing the no. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. We’ve already heard of big names that the Leafs could be shopping, or that they could be pursuing.
In fact, as the Maple Leafs potentially consider dealing the second biggest defenseman on the trade rumor circuit, they might also be talking about considering the top defenseman available. At least, that’s what Kris Letang, who is expected to be moved, is hoping will happen.
Letang has said that the Maple Leafs would be his preferred destination if he ended up being moved this summer. All indications are that Letang, who is set to become a free agent next summer and could command around $7 million a year, will be moved in the very near future.
His offensive prowess from the backend certainly was what helped Letang to become a Norris Trophy finalist in 2013. He finished with 38 points on the season, coming in only 35 games. He’s had his issues with health over the past couple of years, but is still among the best in the game.
Of course, he has his shortcomings as far as his defense is concerned, but there are few players throughout the league that move the puck better from the blue line than Letang. He’s an offensive force back there, and exactly the type of presence that Toronto could use back there.
But can they afford him? He’s looking for a contract of at least $7 million a year. The Leafs have almost $20 million in cap space, but plenty of free agents up and down the roster to deal with. If they were to deal Dion Phaneuf, freeing up about $6.5 million, that would make things much easier from a financial standpoint.
Given that this is the Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s a given that we’re going to hear the biggest names being connected to them. Whether or not anything actually materializes out of these Letang rumors remains to be seen, but the possibility of Toronto acquiring an offensive d-man of his caliber is extremely intriguing.