Leafs reportedly in on two-time Stanley Cup champion Chandler Stephenson

Ryan Smitheram
May 31, 2024  (8:28)

Chandler Stephenson could be hitting the free agent market
Photo credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

As John Tavares continues to age, the Maple Leafs have to look at a long-term replacement and Vegas forward Chandler Stephenson may just be the right fit.

The Fourth Period's Dave Pagnotta has reported that Stephenson, who can play both the wing and center and in all situations, is expected to hold talks with the Golden Knights in the coming days and weeks. However, Pagnotta and others believe that he has already priced himself out of Vegas, and will test free agency on July 1st. Should he reach July 1st, the Leafs are expected to be interested in Stephenson's services along with a number of other teams according to Pagnotta.
Stephenson is expected to get a hefty raise over his current $2.75M cap hit that he has had the past four seasons and with the Knights having less than $900K in cap space, it is highly unlikely that the 30-year-old will return. In 75 games for the Knights last season, Stephenson registed 16 goals and 35 assists, good enough for 51 points. The season prior, he set a career high with 65 points and had 20 points in 22 playoff games en route to helping the Knights win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
The Leafs are expected to make some big changes this off-season and take some big swings. They have $18.5M in cap space currently, and will probably use a good chunk of it on the blueline. However, it wouldn't price them out of Stephenson as Evolving Hockey has his most likely contract as a 4-year deal worth around $6M annually.
Four years younger than Tavares, as one of the fastest skaters in the league, Stephenson would bring a lot of speed to the Leafs' top-six and allow them to either shuffle Tavares to the wing or continue to play him as the third line center to allow for a more balanced lineup.
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Leafs reportedly in on two-time Stanley Cup champion Chandler Stephenson

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