It’s intriguing that Luke Schenn led the NHL in hits last season. Since trading Schenn for James van Riemsdyk the Leafs have chased that stay-at-home defenceman. Mark Fraser fit the bill somewhat but now he’s hurt. Ryan O’Byrne was a bust at the trade deadline. The jury is out on Paul Ranger still trying to get his legs under him after three years away from the NHL. And it’s too early to call up Andrew MacWilliam. It’s too early in the season to know for sure what defencemen are available in trades — that tends to be a function of their salary their pending free agency status and what teams believe they’re playoff bound. But you never know. In that spirit here’s a list of defencemen who — if they squirt free that — the Leafs ought to consider. Luca Sbisa Ducks 23 6-2 198 pounds. Cap hit: $2.175 million. Injured now Anaheim won’t part with this gem of a D-man easily. He’s the guy they got from Philadelphia for Chris Pronger and is coming along nicely. But if Morgan Rielly outplays Jake Gardiner and Anaheim has long regretted sending Gardiner to Toronto well you fill in the blanks. Tim Gleason Hurricanes 30 6-0 217 pounds. Cap hit: $4 million. There is nothing to suggest the ’Canes are unhappy with Gleason a shot blocker known for his gritty play. But Carolina is at the cap and probably spending more money than ownership is comfortable with. Lots of teams would show interest if Carolina dangled him. Kevin Klein Predators 30 6-1 200 pounds. Cap hit: $2.9 million. Preds love this guy — he’s always among the leaders in blocked shots — and signed him to a long-term deal that expires in 2018. But this is a franchise that breeds defenceman. With Seth Jones coming up and Shea Weber in long-term Preds could parlay a guy like Klein for help up front.
Maple Leafs blue line could use some help
Toronto Star | Oct 8