NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs Targeted 2 Star Defensemen at Trade Deadline

The Toronto Maple Leafs made several moves before the 2023 Trade Deadline passed, adding Ryan O'Reilly, Jake McCabe, Noel Acciari, Erik Gustafsson, Luke Schenn, and Sam Lafferty. However, the Maple Leafs also had other plans, as they inquired about Erik Karlsson and Mattias Ekholm as well, according to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman.

Maple Leafs general manager (GM) Kyle Dubas went all-in at the deadline this year with his several acquisitions, but it is clear that he had other major plans. However, the Maple Leafs' limited cap space made it challenging to fit in one of these two notable defensemen.

Ekholm has since found a home with the Edmonton Oilers, while Karlsson remains a San Jose Shark. Perhaps the Maple Leafs' interest in Karlsson could be an indicator that they end up making a push for the superstar defenseman this offseason as well. 

In 63 games this season, Karlsson has 19 goals to go along with 80 points. Ekholm, on the other hand, has five goals and 14 assists. 
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