In case you missed the news this past weekend, Calgary Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov informed team general manager Craig Conroy that he would like to be traded away from the team.
The hulking 6'6", 235lb defenseman is apparently tired of losing with the directionless Flames and is looking for a fresh start elsewhere in the NHL. TSN insider Darren Dreger has linked Zadorov to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils as the team's most likely to pursue him via trade.
"Well look, again, he's an attractive piece for Toronto, Vancouver, I know the New Jersey have expressed some interest, because of what we can see. He's enormous, he's a very physical defenseman. The problem you might have, though - and this is my understanding - is that he thinks he's a top-3, top-2 defenseman and I don't think he is. I think he's comfortable in your second [pairing], well even as your third [pairing], as a #5D, then you're in pretty good shape.
Brad Treliving, the general manager, has been around this man a long time. He knows him well and probably knows how to get him going. I don't think it helped the process, though, to amplify it the way that it amplified on Friday, because now it turns into a spectacle."
- Darren Dreger
Interestingly enough, the Leafs and Flames played each other in a fairly entertaining game this past Friday so both Zadorov and his potential new teammates would have had a chance to feel each other out.
What's most interesting to me though is that Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman is reporting that during the course of that game, one of the Leafs' players explicitly tried to recruit Zadorov on the ice!
From Friedman's latest 32 Thoughts podcast for Sportsnet:
"Zadorov plays under 16 minutes on Friday night and they lose to Toronto. He delivers a HUGE hit on Bertuzzi. The word going around on Sunday night is that a Maple Leafs player said to Zadorov on the ice, 'You're EXACTLY what we need.'
- Elliotte Friedman
Friedman's 32 Thoughts co-host Jeff Marek pushed Friedman if it was Zadorov's former OHL London Knights teammate Max Domi who tried to recruit Zadorov, but Friedman couldn't say for sure.
The more pressing issue though if you're Leaf's GM Brad Treliving though has to be the future of superstar William Nylander. The pending unrestricted free agent is absolutely tearing it up with the Leafs so far this season, leading the team in scoring with 22 points in his first 15 games.
Nylander has all but assured himself a major pay day this upcoming offseason, but it remains to be seen if he'll re-sign with the Leafs or with another team in free agency. But, ESPN insider John Buccigross may have offered up a free scoop this evening, reporting that he'd love to see Nylander sign with Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks this upcoming offseason.
Check it out:
I mean... I guess it could work?
The Blackhawks will certainly have the cap space to sign Nylander if they wanted to but why would Nylander sign there for any reason other than financial reasons? The Blackhawks are still years away from competing for the playoffs let alone the Stanley Cup. I'd imagine that if Nylander leaves Toronto for another team it would be for an opportunity to win the Cup. If he goes to Chicago on a long-term deal, he can pretty much guarantee that he'll end his career without hoisting Lord Stanley.