3 Potential Trade Destinations for Maple Leafs D-Man Timothy Liljegren

The Toronto Maple Leafs re-signed defenseman Timothy Liljegren on June 30th to a two-year extension worth a total of $6 million. But does that mean they are sold on the right-shot d-man being a part of their future on the blueline? Not necessarily, per insider Chris Johnson on a recent edition of his podcast.

We’ll see if Timothy Liljegren maybe still gets traded. I know he was signed to a two-year extension but I don’t think you can entirely rule out a trade in his circumstance yet. They’re still going to keep chipping away at the roster.

The Leafs went out the day after extending Liljegren and brought in all sorts of reinforcements on the backline in free agencyh, with signees Chris Tanev, Oliver-Ekman Larsson and Jani Hakanpaa, two of whom are right shots, potentially making Liljegren expendable. Johnson warns, however, that they aren't planning to just give him away.

“I should be very clear, that is not to say they are trying to get rid of (him) at all costs, but I think that because of the Leafs’ salary cap, they are pretty tight up against it.” 

Indeed, Toronto has basically zero dollars in cap space at this point in time, and if they can ease things up by moving Liljegren's $3 million cap hit, they'd certainly consider it, with their newfound relative depth on D. Let's have a look at three potential trade destinations:

San Jose Sharks

The rebuilding team has some exciting players up front, but looks pretty fringey on the blueline. They could use an established young veteran who could potentially play in their top-four on defense, and perhaps Liljegren would benefit from a less high-pressure environment like San Jose.

Detroit Red Wings

While youngster Simon Edvinsson made some big strikes near the end of the 2023-24 season, and the team signed non-impact guys Erik Gustafsson and William Lagesson in free agency, the right side of the blueline is still lacking in substance, and Liljegren could be a nice addition for a defense still in need.

Chicago Blackhawks

As the Hawks build for the future, they've got a great start on the blueline with  Alex Vlasic and (to a bit of a lesser extent) Seth Jones. They brought in a couple of grizzled veterans in free agency, in TJ Brodie and Alec Martinez. But of this entire group, only Jones is a right-shot, and adding a young player with some potential on the right side would be a big help in the rebuild. Liljegren, just 25, could also grow with the young core. 

Liljegren had a decent season by some standards in his third full year with the Leafs, posting 23 points in 55 games with a plus/minus rating of +3. But he found himself healthy scratched at one point during the playoffs. A change of scenery could do him good.

Photo: © Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports