Breaking: Toronto Maple Leafs Confirm To Reach Agreement To Trade Out Highest Paid defenseman For An Elite Goaltender

**Toronto Maple Leafs Should Consider Trading Morgan Rielly**

Though Toronto Maple Leafs fans may be reluctant to admit it, it might be time to trade Morgan Rielly.

Rielly, the highest-paid defenseman and longest-tenured player on the Leafs, should be traded for an elite goaltender to address the team’s major weaknesses, starting from the net out.

To improve, the Leafs should trade Rielly for a top-tier goalie, then sign two unrestricted free agents such as Brandon Montour, Nikita Zadorov, Brady Skjei, or Brett Pesce. This strategy, combined with filling forward positions with players from the Marlies, would create a stronger, more resilient team.

Despite Rielly’s no-movement clause and status as arguably the Leafs’ best defender, he isn’t an elite defenseman, and Toronto needs a back-end capable of protecting against high-danger scoring chances to succeed.

While the Leafs perform well in the regular season, playoff success requires teams that can handle and dish out physical play, as shown by the Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers. Rielly often falls short in this aspect, as opponents exploit the Leafs’ lack of toughness during the playoffs.


Rielly led the team in ice time during the 2023-24 season, playing 23:44 per game under former coach Sheldon Keefe in all phases, but didn’t particularly excel in any. His $7.5 million AAV cap hit could be used to acquire a star goaltender, who typically earns around $6 million. Despite frequent calls to trade Mitch Marner, few have suggested moving Rielly.

Potential goalie targets for the Leafs could include Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators and Linus Ullmark of the Boston Bruins, both of whom would be significant upgrades. Trading Rielly would free up cap space for additional defensive signings, with General Manager Brad Treliving having $20 million to work with.

Since Rielly joined the league, the Leafs have earned points in 68% of games without him, compared to 57% when he plays—a significant statistic from a sample size of about 100 games. Ignoring this would be a mistake.

Ultimately, it might be time to trade Morgan Rielly. Similar to the DeRozan/Kawhi trade, Treliving should acknowledge Rielly’s contributions and use his value to acquire the one player who could help the Leafs win a Stanley Cup: a top-tier goaltender.

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