The Leafs made some exciting news this past weekend when it was announced by multiple local sports outlets that the Leafs were shopping defensemen Nikita Zaitsev, and forward Patrick Marleau. It was also mentioned that the Leafs were putting the names of forwards Nazem Kadri, Andreas Johnsson, and Kasperi Kapanen out there to see what they can get for those players.
It was reported by Zaitsev’s agent that he formally requested to be traded. Zaitsev can’t play in Toronto anymore — the pressure of this huge market got to him.
Zaitsev joined the Leafs in 2016 signing a 1 year ELC coming from the KHL. He played his first season in the 2016-17 season where he played phenomenally in comparison to other KHL defensemen playing in the NHL. He was properly placed in offensive situations where he excels with his speed. He signed a 7 year contract giving him $4.5M annually. Yet, his playing responsibility was lost in translation in the last 2 seasons by Babcock. He played more time on the penalty kill, which was totally fine because he wasn’t that bad. The problem was that he was getting worse and Head Coach Mike Babcock kept playing him a lot. Zaitsev is pretty much known as a bad contract now by most Leafs fans.
Zaitsev has a 10 team modified no trade clause which means, he makes a list of 10 teams he doesn’t want to be traded to. For example, if he doesn’t want to be traded to Carolina, and the Leafs tried to make a deal with them, he can stop that deal with his NTC.
It was reported by Elliote Friedman of Sportsnet that the Leafs made Patrick Marleau available for trade. His giant overpayment of $6.25M would certainly be a reason to trade him. If a trade were to happen, the Leafs would highly benefit from the extra $6M he’d give us.
Marleau currently has a no move clause which means he can deny any trade/league movement. He’d need to waive his NMC to be traded.
Current teams reportedly interested are the LA Kings, Arizona Coyotes, and Colorado Avalanche.
Follow @adamotweets on Twitter for Toronto Maple Leafs related news/content.