Chris Tanev's Contract Demands May Doom Leafs in Free Agency Sweepstakes

Marvin Azrak
June 23, 2024  (9:48)

Chris Tanev, Dallas Stars
Photo credit: Sportsnet

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a golden opportunity to bring Chris Tanev to Toronto through free agency, but there's a catch that might put them out of the running.

After being traded from the Calgary Flames to the Dallas Stars this season, Tanev played a key role in Dallas' deep playoff push to the Western Conference Finals. However, their run was cut short by a blazing hot Edmonton Oilers team, ending Tanev's season and possibly his stint in Dallas.
seems like tanev's the top target for the leafs this offseason & that he's looking for a four year deal

he's obviously the *perfect* partner for rielly, but I'm really worried about an overpay here & have zero interest in getting into a bidding war over a 34 year old defensemen
Now, as an unrestricted free agent (UFA), Tanev is set to explore his options on the open market starting July 1st. Despite being on the wrong side of 30, he's still in high demand across the league, including in Toronto. Tanev is reportedly seeking a four-year contract. Considering he'll be 35 in December, that's a big ask.
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The Leafs have typically favored shorter-term deals to maintain roster flexibility and avoid the pitfalls of long-term contracts. But if they want Tanev, they might have to break from tradition and meet his demands. If not, they'll need to look for defensive help elsewhere.
Chris Tanev is essentially a perfect fit for the Leafs if he's willing to LTIRetire if his game drops off in a couple of years.

He's less of a fit if he wants to be the next Marleau (and 100% committed to playing out his contract).
Tanev's stats from last season include 2 goals and 19 points over 75 games split between Calgary and Dallas.
While those numbers aren't wild, Tanev's value lies in the intangibles he brings, qualities that don't always show up on the stat sheet but can make a significant impact. If the Leafs decide to make a move, they'll be hoping those intangible benefits to bolster their blue line.