Insider: Maple Leafs Blueline Will Look “Profoundly Different” Soon

There's no secret around hockey what the Toronto Maple Leafs' weakness is: goal prevention. Their team defense ranks in the bottom quarter of the NHL in goals against and in penalty-killing percentage. They're in the bottom half in shots allowed. 

NHL Insider Jeff Marek appeared on Sportsnet radio The Fan 590 Wednesday and insisted that GM Brad Treliving is set to embark on a huge reconstruction of the Toronto blueline in the days and weeks ahead, and pointed to the Calgary Flames, who have a number of top D-men, all impending free agents, on the trade block. He says the Leafs are in  on the Calgary fire sale, "big time."

I think they want both (Nikita) Zadorov and (Chris) Tanev, I don't think they just want one. But they'll take one. Brad Treliving, make no mistake about it, wants to re-do this blueline. The Toronto Maple Leafs blueline—have a look at it right now, and have a look at the trade deadline—it will, if Treliving can do what he wants to do, look profoundly different. 

It makes a lot of sense that the Leafs would be all-in on the Calgary pair. First, naturally, the Toronto blueline is in serious need of repair. Second, Treliving is the man who brought both Tanev and Zadorov to Calgary as GM of the Flames. He knows exactly what their value is, plus he's got a good handle on the Flames' organizational needs. If anyone can make this happen, you'd think it would be him.  

And as Marek points out, the Leafs' defense corps needs to get bigger. He points to the size on the blueline in Vegas, Tampa and Colorado, as something that the league is moving back to, and something that Toronto needs to add. Zadorov is 6'6", 250 pounds. As big—and hard-hitting—as they come.

"If you have a chance to bring in someone that can influence that much ice while he's out there, and force teams to keep their head up, you take a shot at getting that guy," said Marek. 

Photo: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports