The Toronto Maple Leafs are working to improve their team defence by re-signing Luke Schenn to a contract. He played well with the team after he came from the Vancouver Canucks at the trade deadline and he noted how much he enjoyed his second go-around with the franchise. He started here as a rookie many seasons ago.
Perhaps Schenn Is Headed Back to Vancouver
The latest word was that Schenn and the Maple Leafs were not close together on talking contract, He might be headed back to Vancouver where he was a fan favourite last season. If that’s the case, one player the Maple Leafs could go after Scott Mayfield who’s coming off an expired contract with the New York Islanders.
He’s an impending unrestricted free agent, and Mayfield would be available at the right price. If they could get him, he could provide a significant boost to the team’s shutdown defence. His recent impressive performance with the Islanders would fit well within the team’s structure.
Mayfield Is Defensively Sound
The six-foot-five, 220-pound Mayfield has proven himself as a reliable shutdown defenseman during his time with the Islanders. In fact, it’s the only NHL team he’s played for. One would think that the Islanders would work to re-sign him; however, should they not, the Maple Leafs could do well to see if he might be interested in playing for a Stanley Cup contender in Toronto.
Mayfield’s an imposing physical player, and he uses his size to disrupt opponents. He’s not much for offence but he does excel in defensive situations. He neutralizes opponents and contributes to the team’s defensive structure in ways that would be valuable to the Maple Leafs.
Mayfield Would Be a Versatile, Gritty Defender
Mayfield is typically considered a bottom-pairing defender; however, he also could play in a top-four role. He’s versatile. His flexibility would allow the Maple Leafs to use him effectively throughout the defensive pairings. Mayfield’s adaptability and consistency would make him a prime candidate to improve the team’s defensive core.
The one thing Mayfield would certainly bring and that aligns perfectly with the Maple Leafs’ needs is his gritty play. He’s known for his physicality. In that, Mayfield would provide a solid replacement for departing defenseman Justin Holl in terms of his toughness and his ability to play shutdown hockey. His grittiness would complement the more skilled aspects of the Maple Leafs’ defence – such as Morgan Rielly’s offence.
Mayfield Is also A Competent Penalty Killer
Should the Maple Leafs be able to pick up Mayfield, they would gain an immediate penalty-killer. His defensive ability to disrupt opponents’ plays makes him a shorthanded asset. He’s able to neutralize opposing power plays.
The Bottom Line
As the free agency period approaches, if Schenn does not sign with the Maple Leafs, Mayfield might be an option. He’s likely to cost a bit more than Schenn, but he’s a bit younger as well and has great size and defensive ability.
Mayfield’s defensive prowess, versatility, grit, and penalty-killing abilities could make him an ideal fit for the team’s needs. We’ll see what new Maple Leafs’ general manager Brad Treliving will do in about two weeks’ time.