Insider Reveals What Maple Leafs Contract Offer To Chris Tanev Will Look Like

The Toronto Maple Leafs didn't do a lot at The Sphere, but they did take a big swing at trying to land their No. 1 target on defense, Chris Tanev. They sent a 2026 seventh-round draft pick and prospect Max Ellis to the Dallas Stars in order to gain Tanev's negotiating rights until Monday. Now the pressure is on.

The talk is that the Leafs will try to do something similar to what the Tampa Bay Lightning tried with Steven Stamkos, offering a long-term deal taking the player into his 40s, but on a lower AAV (that didn't work with Stamkos, at least not as of this writing). 

Tanev will turn 35 next season, but obviously showed he's still at the top of his game this past year, particularly with his performance down the stretch and in the playoffs with Dallas after being acquired from the Calgary Flames.

Here's what insider Elliotte Friedman wrote this morning about what GM Brad Treliving will offer Tanev to sign with his hometown team:

My guess on Chris Tanev and Toronto is six years at around $4 million per season.

Friedman added on his 32 Thoughts podcast: 

That is Toronto's tactic, and it's expected to be good enough to get it done. 

Treliving, of course, knows all about the heart and soul that Tanev can bring to a blueline, having signed him to his now-expiring 4-year, $4.5 million AAV deal with Calgary. He tried to secure the shot-blocking d-man earlier this season, but couldn't make it work with his old team. 

Tanev blocked a career-high 207 shots this season, and in the playoffs, blocked an insane 73 shots in 19 games (that would be 315 over a full 82-game schedule). 

He would be the perfect complement for Morgan Rielly on the top pairing, allowing the long-time Leaf more freedom to go on his offensive jaunts. 

As Treliving told Luke Fox of Sportsnet, "(Tanev is) an absolute warrior. He's a culture carrier for your room. Listen, I know the age he's at. But I think even in the last year he showed he's one of the top shutdown defencemen, one of the top defensive players, in the league. And he's a right shot. He embodies everything you want in a teammate. 

"It's exciting. A hell of a player. Tremendous person. He'll be a big part of our group if we can get it all put together."

The clock is ticking, however, to get a deal done. Noon on Monday ET is when free agency officially kicks off.  

Photo: © Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports