If the Leafs were to miss out on Alex Pietrangelo, there are options to consider in a tier below him if the money makes sense. TJ Brodie jumps out first because he’s already been on Toronto’s radar.
The Leafs were looking to make a trade involving Nazem Kadri to the Calgary Flames but never happened because Kadri wanted to remain in Toronto and didn’t want to waive his no-trade clause. Coming back to Toronto would have been Brodie and Mark Jankowski.
What makes Brodie desirable is that he’s used to playing the right side despite being a left shot and doesn’t necessarily rely on being physical to be an effective defenceman. He also won’t cost as much as Pietrangelo because he isn’t a big offensive player but still has strong possession numbers.
There will be quite a bit of interest in Tanev when free agency opens as the Pittsburgh Penguins are apparently willing to give up the Canucks defenceman a five-year deal.
Some thought Vancouver would try to bring back the 30-year-old but with other needs to address and their rumoured interest in Oliver Ekman-Larsson makes it unlikely to see him return. The two concerns with Tanev would be the term he’s looking to get and his injury history.
He brings the elements the Leafs need on their blue line including mobility, shot-blocking and poise to his game. Both Tanev and Morgan Rielly have a prior history playing together with Team Canada at the World Championships and he would be a desirable partner for the Leafs top blueliner.