Maple Leafs acquire defenseman Muzzin in trade with Kings
Maple Leafs acquire defenseman Muzzin in trade with Kings
Maple Leafs get defenceman Jake Muzzin in trade with Kings
05 February, 2019, 23:32
Muzzin is under contract through 2019-20, with an annual average salary of $4 million USA, after which he will become an unrestricted free agent.
The 29-year-old Muzzin has four goals and 17 assists in 50 games this season, struggling at times along with his teammates in the last-place Kings' miserable year. He has proven himself over a good career to be able to move the puck, to excel at playing against high-quality competition and to contribute offensively and defensively.
It's no secret that the Maple Leafs have been in search of an experienced RHD, with management and scouting personnel making headlines last week after attending a number of Carolina Hurricanes games over the past couple months. Very excited to join Toronto.
Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, second from left, celebrates his goal with defenseman Jake Muzzin, left, and left wing Alex Iafallo, second from right, as St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson skates by during the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, in Los Angeles.
It turns out that the Canes aren't the only squad the Leafs have been keeping a close eye on, as TSN's Darren Dreger reported general manager Kyle Dubas and Kings GM Rob Blake had been discussing this trade for the last few weeks.
"He is still in his prime and we are happy to know he is going to be here for at least the next year and a half and two runs at the spring".
The Leafs are playing their third in a stretch of four games in six nights coming out of the All-Star/bye week and earned three of a possible four points in a 3-2 overtime loss to Detroit on Friday and a home victory over Pittsburgh by the same score on Saturday, but their power play continues to struggle and is beginning to become a concern for head coach Mike Babcock.
"I think the key things for us is in acquiring a player like Jake is that he has been a very good defenceman in the National Hockey League for a long time". He was a key contributor during their run to the 2014 title, scoring 12 points in 26 playoff games.
"Everyone was a Leafs fan and I was included", said Muzzin of his childhood in Woodstock, Ont., approximately 140 kilometres west of Toronto.
With promising defensive prospects in their farm system, but no one ready to make the jump, bringing in another player via trade was Toronto's best chance of sufficiently upgrading that unit. He has that (playoff) experience, but I think beyond all that the key is his ability to play at the top end of our defence, play in all situations, play against the other teams' top players.
Grundstrom, 21, was a second-round pick in 2016 and has 29 points in 42 games with Toronto's AHL affiliate this season.
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