The Toronto Maple Leafs were rumored to be looking for a top pairing right-handed shot to play on their blue line this upcoming season but where unable to make a move to acquire one, at least that is the case so far.
With that in mind NHL.com's Dave McCarthy asked head coach Mike Babcock about just that when he caught up to the Maple Leafs head coach, and surprisingly Babcock was very open his plans for the blue line in the 2017-2018 National Hockey League season. According to McCarthy Babcock informed him of two of the pairings he hopes will work for the Maple Leafs.
The first will see 36-year-old veteran Ron Hainsey paired up with 23-year-old Morgan Rielly while the second will see 25-year-old Nikita Zaitsev paired up with 27-year-old Jake Gardiner, arguably the Leafs most polarizing defenseman.
This of course does not lock in these pairings for the season, as Babcock will likely use players and make changes as he sees fit throughout both the preseason and regular season, but it does give us a preview of where Babcock sees his defense going next season.