Report: Leafs interested in defenseman with boat anchor contract

This would be an expensive replacement for John Klingberg.



The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without the services of defenseman John Klingberg for the rest of the 2023-24 schedule, as he's been hampered by a hip injury and has since undergone season-ending surgery to repair the ailment. 

This opens up a spot on the blue line, and thanks to his having been placed on LTIR, the Leafs now have additional salary cap space to work with. And while they've been linked to Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanafin after having initially missed out on acquiring Nikita Zadorov, they're reportedly looking toward the City of Brotherly Love for defensive reinforcements.

According to NHL Insider Elliott Friedman in his latest "32 Thoughts" column, the Maple Leafs have shown interest in acquiring Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen despite his $5.1 million cap hit for the next several seasons. 

"I do think Toronto has taken a look at Philadelphia’s Rasmus Ristolainen, who has three seasons remaining on a five-year, $25.5-million contract," Friedman wrote on Wednesday night.

"But, I don’t believe the Flyers are eager to give him away, and there’s no rush for them to do anything while their group is playing well. That’s not to say it couldn’t be something down the road, but when the team is competing hard, getting good results and generally doing what is being asked of them — why throw a stink bomb into your dressing room?"

Ristolainen, who has three more years remaining on his current contract, has only managed to play in five games this season, registering a single assist. Would this be the ideal replacement for Klingberg by Leafs GM Brad Treliving? 

Recommended articles: