Leafs GM Brad Treliving
Photo credit: Sportsnet

Leafs GM Brad Treliving admits that one of his top trade chips is on the table

Published March 3, 2024 at 1:10

It was widely reported that once the Calgary Flames traded defenseman Chris Tanev, the floodgates would open as he was the market-setter with a myriad of defensemen available ahead of the trade deadline. On Thursday night, we were able to cross off another name, albeit not one of the bigger ones, that had circulated on the trade board in recent weeks in Ilya Lyubushkin.

The Toronto Maple Leafs completed a three-team trade with the Anaheim Ducks and Carolina Hurricanes where they acquired Ilya Lyubushkin with 75% of his contract being retained, the Ducks acquired a 3rd round pick from Toronto while retaining 50% of his contract, and the Hurricanes acquired a 6th round pick for retaining the additional 25%.

While Lyubushkin isn't your prototypical top-4 defenseman, he provides grit, physicality, and a solid pairing option for a Leafs defense that has dealt with their fair share of injuries. He also has some pre-existing chemistry with Morgan Rielly, which could lead to more minutes than originally anticipated.

With Tanev off the market and Lyubushkin in the fold in Toronto, Brad Treliving is not done making moves, but it has to make sense for the present and for the future. The coveted first round pick that the Maple Leafs still possess has been on the mind of several rebuilding clubs, but Treliving has been staunch about not moving the pick for short-term help. In having said that, Treliving did confirm that he will consider moving the pick in the right deal:

"I think you gotta be careful with 1st round picks for short-term help. But if it makes sense at the end of the day when you do the final analysis you have to look at every option."

Noah Hanifin remains at the top of the leaderboard, but it's widely speculated that he has no interest in staying in Canada. Sean Walker is a hot name, but the Philadelphia Flyers aren't budging on their first round pick asking price and the Leafs are rumoured to have backed away from Walker as a result. Unfortunately, there aren't many defensemen with additional years remaining on their contract outside of Jakob Chychrun from Ottawa and Andrew Peeke from Columbus that the Leafs have been linked to publicly, so we can only speculate on who else they might be looking at.

With Treliving confirming that his 1st round pick is on the table, it does open up some interesting possibilities if the Leafs were to consider packaging the pick with some additional pieces for an impact blueliner. It's obvious from his comments that he prefers someone with term if he's dealing that pick, so if teams are listening on any of their defensemen who still have term on their deals, I'd be willing to bet that Treliving already has a list of names sitting on his whiteboard for the Leafs to do their due diligence on as we approach March 8th.

March 3   |   754 answers
Leafs GM Brad Treliving admits that one of his top trade chips is on the table

Would you be okay with the Leafs trading their 2024 first round pick for short-term help?

Yes, we need a top-4 defenseman16622 %
No, if we deal the 1st rounder, we need term44158.5 %
Only if there's an extension in the works14719.5 %
Latest 10 stories