Simon Benoit has been quite the surprise for the Leafs this season
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Reporter suggests Leafs should trade pending RFA to upgrade their blueline

Published February 26, 2024 at 9:52

The Toronto Maple Leafs and GM Brad Treliving have been looking to shore up their blueline all season, and have yet to find a defenseman that they are willing to spend assets on. While the Leafs certainly need to upgrade on the blueline, particularly on the right side, the defensive group has played very well since Morgan Rielly's suspension, which forced head coach Sheldon Keefe to shuffle his pairings.

One reporter, however, suggests that the Leafs should trade one of their standout blueliners for a more legitimate top-four defenseman. Kevin Papetti of The Athletic has suggested that the Leafs should look to move Simon Benoit due to the value he currently holds, which may never be higher.

The 25-year-old pending RFA signed a 1-year deal with the Leafs just before training camp, and after a tough start, he has certainly become one of the Leafs' most reliable defensemen. The undrafted defenseman has quickly endeared himself to not only his teammates, but to Leaf fans due to his physical style of play.

The proposed idea of trading one defenseman, who has had success in the top-four so far this season, for a "legitimate" top-four defenseman does not make much sense for the simple reason that it takes away from the depth of the blueline. In addition, the left side of the Leafs' blueline is aging significantly behind Morgan Rielly, with T.J. Brodie about to turn 34 and Mark Giordano already 40 and both being UFAs at the end of the season. The left side of the blueline needs as much help as the right side currently and trading away a 25-year-old under team control would hurt the Leafs more than trading for a "legitimate" top-four defenseman that will very likely walk at the end of the season.

If they can net a clear, tangible upgrade with term remaining on his deal, perhaps they can have those conversations without losing much sleep, but if they were to part with a player like Benoit, who actually wants to be in Toronto, and have whoever they bring back walk away this summer as a UFA, that would certainly be a mistake.

February 26   |   586 answers
Reporter suggests Leafs should trade pending RFA to upgrade their blueline

Would you trade Benoit for a legitimate top-four defenseman?

Yes, Rielly has needed a long-term partner11118.9 %
No, Benoit may very well be a long-term fit47581.1 %
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