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Brad Treliving looking to acquire a former hard-hitting Leafs defenseman


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Mike Armenti
December 9, 2023  (6:51 PM)
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As the Toronto Maple Leafs continue their search for a defenseman, all eyes are currently on the Calgary Flames and Chris Tanev, who is believed to be the Leafs' top trade target, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman's latest report. However, per The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta, the Leafs also like a former Leaf as well and could potentially facilitate a reunion this season.

Pagnotta is reporting this week that the Leafs have shown an interest in bringing Ilya Lyubushkin back to Toronto. "The Russian Bear" was only a member of the team for a short time in 2021-22, suiting up in 31 games for the Leafs after being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes. Lyubushkin also played in all 7 of the Leafs' playoff games in 2022. Pagnotta believes that, while there are plenty of defensemen they're looking at, Lyubushkin remains a primary target.
"Tanev and Lyubushkin are still targets. They like them and the physicality they bring to the table. They also like Ristolainen, despite some locals crying over it. But the Flyers aren't eager to move Ristolainen, who has actually seen a resurgence in his game under Philly Head Coach John Tortorella, and Toronto would want some salary retained."

Lyubushkin carries a $2.75M cap hit and will be an unrestricted free agent when the 2023-24 season concludes. He likely won't cost nearly as much as some of the Leafs' other trade targets, and while he's likely more of a 3rd pairing option at this point, he has shown some chemistry with Morgan Rielly in the past. He's also a right shot, which is something the Leafs desperately need right now.
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9 DECEMBRE   |   1084 ANSWERS
Brad Treliving looking to acquire a former hard-hitting Leafs defenseman

Should the Leafs bring Ilya Lyubushkin back to Toronto?

Yes82776.3 %
No25723.7 %
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