Insider Links Maple Leafs To 2 Flyers Defensemen

Even though the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to play well, they are very thin on the back-end with all of the injuries they have. While Timothy Liljegren just returned, T.J. Brodie has now exited the lineup. Three defensemen that the Maple Leafs didn't think they would have to use very often or at all this season in Conor Timmins, Simon Benoit, and William Lagesson, have all been regulars in the lineup for a while.

As Mark Giordano is considered week-to-week and John Klingberg is out for six months, there is an obvious need to acquire some help for the remainder of the season. David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period said the Maple Leafs have talked to the Philadelphia Flyers about Rasmus Ristolainen and Nick Seeler.

Both Ristolainen and Seeler are defensive more so than they will contribute to the offense. Ristolainen was once someone who could be counted on to produce, so maybe the Maple Leafs would be expecting a little of both. He has one assists through 10 games this season, so it doesn't look promising if that was Toronto's intention. As it stands through 28 games, Morgan Rielly is the only defenseman on the team with more than six points (21 points). That is a whole lot of nothing from the back-end outside of Rielly, but the offense has been more than capable of carrying the load.

Adding Ristolainen would mean bringing in a $5.1 million AAV cap hit (or most of it) for the remaining four years. That is a big commitment for someone who has been shaky. It does add the toughness element the team needs and stabilizes their right side. This would all but say goodbye to Brodie after this season.

Nick Seeler is a more money-conscious addition, but it isn't much of one for a Stanley Cup hopeful. The Maple Leafs have big expectations and big holes to fill on the back-end. Seeler is a third pairing defender at best. With the Flyers being in contention, it doesn't change the mindset of GM Danny Briere, but it may stop them from selling everything they have this season. A trade for the Flyers doesn't make sense at the moment, but might by the trade deadline.

Photo credit: © Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports