Risky Decision or Necessary Leap: Toronto Maple Leaf’s $27m Signing of Chris Tanev

Key Takeaways

– NHL insider Chris Johnston considers Toronto Maple Leafs’ six-year deal with Chris Tanev a risky move.
– Despite Tanev’s age and history of injuries, Leafs needed an experienced figure in the defense line.
– Toronto signed Tanev not just for his ability but also to lower his yearly salary costs.
– The local lad, Tanev, was overjoyed to join his hometown club.
– Tanev is anticipated to play a key role in Leafs’ top defensive and penalty kill units.

The Risky But Needed Signing

The Toronto Maple Leafs have sparked a wave of discussion with their latest signing. Chris Tanev’s six-year, $27 million deal with the club has caused quite the stir, primarily due to the perceived risk associated with it. At 34, Tanev joins his hometown team in a move that NHL analyst Chris Johnston describes as “long and risky”. Despite the risk, Johnston believes that the Leafs needed a player like Tanev, even if it means uncertainty about his future physical health due to his age and injury history.

The Potential Pitfalls

While signing six-year deals with players is not uncommon, the circumstances surrounding Tanev’s revelation more complex than usual. Turning 35 this December and having a frequent injury list, the defensive-star’s long-term fitness is a significant concern. Should Tanev succumb to injuries due to his age and history, the Leafs’ commitment to him could be financially detrimental. Yet, the club is opting for a long-term deal to reduce his yearly salary, indicating a calculated risk.

The Defensive Maestro’s Role

Tanev’s arrival brings not only top-tier experience but also a much-needed defensive prowess. Known for his defending capabilities and shot-blocking skills, Tanev is likely to be positioned with Morgan Reilly, forming the top pair for the Leafs. He is also expected to lead the top penalty kill unit. The right-shot defenseman’s presence promises to enhance the defensive stability significantly.

The Joy of Playing for Hometown

Among other factors, Tanev’s excitement about playing for his hometown club is quite evident. After signing the deal, he expressed his delight and highlighted the rich history and high expectations that come with joining the Leafs. Tanev also acknowledged the ‘elite talent’ present in the team and expressed his eagerness to contribute to the club’s success.

New Season, New Hopes

The Leafs, gearing up for their 2024-25 NHL season, look promising with their reinvigorated squad. Besides Tanev, they also signed Stanley Cup-winning defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to a four-year deal in free agency. Despite the perceived risks, Tanev’s signing seems to be a strategic move, banking on the native’s experiences and strengths. The club seems keen to ‘augment’ and ‘address’ certain areas in their team before the season kick-off against the Montreal Canadiens on October 9.

Only time will tell if this ‘risky’ decision will turn out to be a masterstroke or a miscalculated risk for the Maple Leafs. But for now, the fans and team can enjoy the anticipation of a new season and the hope that their newest addition, Tanev, will bring to their gameplay.


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