Report: Leafs linked with Devils to acquire top 4 defenseman

He'd look great in a Leafs uniform.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have been linked to several different names on the trade market this season - with the most notable ones being on defense.

While it's unclear who exactly they will acquire, if anyone, the main name out there is Erik Gudbranson. A report earlier this month indicated that general manager Lou Lamoriello offered Andrew Nielsen and a draft pick for the services of the Vancouver Canucks defenseman.

No trade has materialized, so Canucks' GM Jim Benning either declined the offer or is still mulling things over.

Another option is Damon Severson on the New Jersey Devils, and according to The Athletic's James Mirtle, there's a good possibility he's available, and that Toronto will be in the mix for his services.

Lamoriello was responsible for drafting him back in the second round of the 2012 NHL entry draft, back when he was GM of the Devils. He still holds him in high regard, and recent circumstances could bring him back into his possession.

Mirtle explains the impact that Severson, who's been a healthy scratch at times this season, could have on the Leafs.

"In terms of impact, Severson should be able to play in a team's top four and he's a right shot, which is what the Leafs need desperately," Mirtle writes. "The only issue as I see it is he probably tops out as closer to a four than anything higher.

"He has also had some defensive issues at times and tends to make more of an impact on the power play and offensively, where Toronto really isn't lacking.

"Is he an upgrade over a Carrick or Polak? Absolutely. Can he push Hainsey or Zaitsev down the lineup right away? Maybe.

"But if you bring in a Severson, and his salary, will you have room to further add a top pairing D down the line? What exactly is the plan with this blueline group? And does it leave room for Dermott and Liljegren down the road?"

Severson has 5 more years beyond this one with a $4.17 million cap hit. Not cheap, but not horribly expensive. The issue is more related to how his acquisition would affect defensemen in the Leafs' pipeline - including Travis Dermott and Timothy Liljegren, as Mirtle alludes to.

That being said, despite his usage in New Jersey, he would be an upgrade over basically every right-shot defensemen on the team.

With the salary cap rising and other questions regarding impending free agents on the team, acquiring him might not ruin the team's hopes at acquiring another top flight defenseman on top of that.

"Is he a long-term fit in the top four? If not, you're probably looking for more than one defenceman — and someone like Severson becomes more compelling as an option."

Seversen stands tall at 6'2" and 205lbs, with 81 points to his name in 243 career games. In other words, a point every 3 games. Right now, he's good as a 25-30 point guy, but with the offensive dynamism of the Leafs in front of him, he could be poised for more. As a right shot, and a former prospect of Lou's, there is reason to believe that he will be a target for the Leafs ahead of the trade deadline.