Friedman lists the 5 UFA defensemen that the Maple Leafs are expected to pursue

Mike Armenti
June 13, 2024  (10:09)

Brandon Montour all smiles after a goal
Photo credit: NHLPA.com

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman has listed the 5 UFA defensemen whom the Leafs are most likely to pursue in free agency in a couple of short weeks.

It's been a common theme throughout the course of the last couple of months that the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to look to make some major changes to their blueline this summer.
With the likes of T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, Joel Edmundson and Ilya Lyubushkin all departing via free agency this summer, there is certainly work to do on the blueline. According to Friedman during an appearance on "Leafs Morning Take" yesterday, the names he's hearing in connection to the Maple Leafs are Nikita Zadorov, Chris Tanev, Brandon Montour, Brett Pesce and Sean Walker.
The list includes a good mix of puck movers, offensive threats, quality defensive defensemen and even some snarl in there with Zadorov.
Obviously, the Leafs are not going to be able to sign all of these players, but Friedman did mention that they're going to try in earnest to sign two of these guys.
Of the names listed above, the Leafs have had longstanding ties to Zadorov, Tanev and Pesce, with the interest in all 3 players going back multiple seasons. Zadorov and Tanev also have the obvious link to Brad Treliving from their time together in Calgary.
Personally, I think if they're going after two of these guys, I'd prefer Pesce and Montour, simply because of the fact that Pesce is younger than Tanev and just as good on the defensive side of things, while Montour is a legitimate offensive threat from the blueline and can immediately improve the Leafs' top power play unit.
Montour, a Brantford, Ontario native, had just 33 points in 66 games this season, but is just one year removed from a 73-point campaign across 80 games in 2022-23. Over his career, Montour has produced 252 points in 520 games and is a +40, splitting time with the Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers.
Source: NHL.com
NHL.com - Brandon Montour stats
13 JUIN   |   365 ANSWERS
Friedman lists the 5 UFA defensemen that the Maple Leafs are expected to pursue

Which of the following 4 defensemen would you like to see sign in Toronto if the Leafs could only sign one?

Brandon Montour13837.8 %
Chris Tanev4011 %
Nikita Zadorov9124.9 %
Brett Pesce9626.3 %
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