NHL GM comments on Zaitsev trade negotiations

The wheels are in motion. How soon until we see a deal?

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According to a report from NHL insider Bob McKenzie of TSN, the Toronto Maple Leafs are actively shopping defensemen Nikita Zaitsev in order to give the Russian blueliner a “fresh start” in the NHL.

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Further to that report, McKenzie reports that the Leafs have received “multiple inquires” regarding Zaitsev.

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Here’s the thing… trading Zaitsev could be tricky for Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas.

The 27 year old Zaitsev put up just three goals and 14 points this past season and makes $4.5 million against the salary cap for the next five seasons. That’s a steep price for a player who can’t even put up 20 points and is arguably not even a top four defenseman.

It wasn’t always this way with Zaitsev, however. In his first season with the Leafs after coming over from Russia, Zaitsev put up four goals and 36 points in 82 games. Since then though, Zaitsev has managed just 13 points and then 14 points the past two seasons. Quite a drop off.

Still, Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning has confirmed his interest in Zaitsev, but declined to comment on specifics.

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Sit tight, there’s still lots more to come with regards to Zaitsev.