We've been talking about how the Toronto Maple Leafs could trade any of their top forwards who's not names Auston Matthews for weeks now. 28-year-old forward James Van Riemsdyk is probably the most interesting candidate, since he's slated to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season (and will probably ask for a lot more money!).
What would they get in exchange? According to Sportsnet's Luke Fox, Leafs' general manager Lou Lamoriello should really aim for a good defensive blueliner. Here's what he said, in the latest edition of Quick Shifts:
"No one puts more onus on a single duo of defencemen to kill its penalties than Toronto. Ron Hainsey (102:40) and Nikita Zaitsev (82:30) lead the NHL in PK ice time, and it isn’t even close. Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm (71:53) ranks third.
I’ll be shocked if the Maple Leafs don’t find a way to add another trusted stay-at-home D-man by March. Roman Polak hasn’t cut it, and the lineup is better off with Connor Carrick skating. Hainsey, who’s 36, and Zaitsev are at risk of burning out."
Crazy numbers. It's hard to believe Hainsey would be able to keep up for 60 more games... We'll have to keep an eye on Lamoriello over the next few weeks!