We are only just 14 games into the 2019 - 2020 National Hockey League regular season but given the rabid nature of the Toronto hockey market there are already some serious concerns surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs after what has been perceived to be a poor start to the season. The Leafs currently sit behind the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens, and Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division and, after two straight losses, are now only ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators.
As a result of this poor start to the season there have already been plenty of rumors swirling around the Maple Leafs, more specifically trade rumors as fans and pundits alike speculate on which players could be moved in an effort to shake things up on the Maple Leafs roster. Additionally there has been an unusual amount of talk regarding the future of Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock, presumably due to the perceived conflict between the veteran head coach and the organizations young general manager Kyle Dubas. There have been legitimate questions about the relationship between the two men and given that Dubas has never had the opportunity to hire his own coach it is not difficult to see why the rumors of Babcock's future have also been swirling in Toronto.
Interestingly enough it seems that both those rumors may have met at a crossroads recently as now one NHL insider is reporting that Babcock is hoping to see one of Dubas' acquisitions traded off of his roster, presumably a player that Babcock himself doesda not believe in. We have all heard the rumors surrounding players like Matt Marincin, Nic Petan, and Nick Shore but according to the Fourth Period's David Pagnotta there is another name at the top of Mike Babcock's wish list.
"Petan, Marincin out there. Shore's name is out there too," said Pagnotta on Sportsnet's 650 radio. "I know Mike Babcock would like Spezza's name to be in that group (being shopped) but not sure that he is."
I suppose it should come as little surprise that Babcock would like to see veteran Jason Spezza traded off the roster, after all Babcock's displeasure with the addition of the forward has been made rather obvious by Babcock himself since the preseason. That being said the fact that Pagnotta has suggested that Spezza may not be on the trading block is perhaps one more sign of the rift, or perceived rift, that exists between Babcock and the Leafs general manager.