Trusted NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman
Photo credit: Sportsnet

Insider's choice on who he thinks the Leafs will acquire at the deadline is a shocking one

Published February 19, 2024 at 2:34 PM

With just over 2 and a half weeks remaining until the NHL's March 8th trade deadline, the Leafs are somewhat limited for time to secure an upgrade for their blueline. As contenders begin to circle the seller's market, trying to pick teams apart to secure roster upgrades, there are sure to be plenty of bidding wars on several key big name defenders, such as Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev, Jakob Chychrun and others.

During the 1st intermission of the Leafs/Blues game on Monday afternoon, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman was asked who he felt the Leafs should go after, if their 2024 1st round pick is indeed their top trade chip. Friedman's pick was a surprising one.

Not only did Friedman steer away from the Flames entirely, he did not identify anyone coming up to this deadline who was on an expiring contract. Friedman emphasized the Leafs' need to acquire a player with some term remaining on his contract and he selected none other than Blues alternate captain Colton Parayko.

The 6-foot-6 Parayko has 9 goals on the season, which would lead all Leafs defensemen in goal scoring. He's also signed through 2029-30 at $6.5M per season. The main issue here is not just that Parayko's defensive game hasn't been overly impressive in recent seasons, it's also that Parayko is 30 years old and will be 31 in May. Are the Leafs going to want to be paying Parayko $6.5M per season for another 6 seasons? I find it highly unlikely, but there have been rumblings that the Leafs have inquired about Parayko in recent weeks as well, so anything is possible.

Parayko's career high in points is just 35, which he has reached 3 times in his career, most recently in 2021-22. He did have 12 points in 26 games with the Blues on their Cup run back in 2019, but with his being unable to contribute much on the scoresheet, the Leafs will want a lot from him defensively, especially at that price and with that long of a commitment. I'm just not sure that Parayko can provide what they'll need him to.

The one benefit that acquiring Parayko could provide is that he'll come cheap, as most teams view that contract as unmovable. If he Leafs think they can help Parayko get his defensive game back on track, then perhaps it's worth the gamble, especially if the cost is cheap. However, there is a lot of risk in a move like that.

February 19   |   682 answers
Insider's choice on who he thinks the Leafs will acquire at the deadline is a shocking one

Should the Leafs pull off a trade for Blues defenseman Colton Parayko?

If the cost is cheap, why not?39157.3 %
No, he's not the right piece15823.2 %
I'm open to it, but not excited about it13319.5 %
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