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Leafs playing well enough defensively without Muzzin; here's what they should do with their available cap space


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Ryan Smitheram
November 17, 2022  (9:51)
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The Leafs struggled to start the season as they normally do and all hell was breaking loose on social media. Everyone wanted to fire Sheldon Keefe and Kyle Dubas and swing a major trade involving a core player. Even with injuries to Matt Murray, Ilya Samsonov and Jake Muzzin, the sky seemed to be falling.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and things are back to normal - almost. Murray was stellar in his return to action, the "Core 4" are firing on all cylinders, Keefe has a fourth line that he can play more than 6 minutes a night and, defensively, the Leafs are fifth in the league at 5-on-5. That last one is surprising, isn't it? That without Muzzin, who likely will not play again this season, if at all, the Leafs are a top-5 defensive team at even strength.
It's not a small sample size either, as the Leafs have been without Muzzin for a month. With and his $5.625M cap hit on LTIR, the Leafs have a little over $2M to play with (more if they trim the roster down) and if they can sustain their defensive play to the trade deadline, they could and should go after a top 6 forward to provide them with more scoring in the playoffs. Patrick Kane is going to be a costly asset and a trade for him could potentially involve a top prospect like Matthew Knies so that's unlikely, but adding someone like Max Domi, Ryan O'Reilly or Tyler Bertuzzi would give the Leafs some additional scoring that Keefe can spread throughout the lineup and possibly load up a line with Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander or John Tavares if needed without putting all his eggs in one basket.
With defense not currently being an issue and the team struggling to score at times this year, going after a forward as opposed to a defenseman could be a better use of the Leafs' cap space.
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17 NOVEMBRE   |   179 ANSWERS
Leafs playing well enough defensively without Muzzin; here's what they should do with their available cap space

Should the Leafs go after a forward instead of a defenseman with the cap space freed up by Jake Muzzin being on LTIR?

Yes4324 %
No13676 %
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