Insider Reveals Maple Leafs Went After Two Superstar Defensemen Before Pursuing Jake McCabe

Published March 5, 2023 at 3:18 PM
BY AARON

The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired three defensemen at the deadline. None were superstar names, but they bolstered the group. We now know they pursued two others.

Leafs Went After Two Superstars



The cruel reality of the cap world is that it is very hard to move big-name players. That's why Kyle Dubas went after Jake McCabe at his $2-million cap-hit, and why the Tampa Bay Lightning paid five draft picks for the $850,000 Tanner Jeannot.

Per Elliotte Friedman, the Leafs went after two other big-name blueliners - Mattias Ekholm, and Erik Karlsson.


Let's start with the former, who is now a member of the Edmonton Oilers (with a whopping 4% of his salary retained!). Making $6.25-million, the Maple Leafs would have had to rethink the Ryan O'Reilly deal to make a move happen. Despite this, Dubas did attempt to bring the 32-year-old to Toronto.

The latter, probable Norris winner Erik Karlsson, carries a wild $11.5-million cap hit. He's worth it, as he continues towards the first 100-point season by a defenseman in 30 years, but he would have been a difficult guy to acquire. Nonetheless, Kyle Dubas tried.

While we ended up with McCabe, Gustafsson, and Schenn, just imagine what could have been!

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Insider Reveals Maple Leafs Went After Two Superstar Defensemen Before Pursuing Jake McCabe

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