The Toronto Maple Leafs have reportedly received calls on defenceman Jake Muzzin, Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci but will any of them get moved?
While most of the trade chatter surrounding the Leafs has been surrounding their rumoured interest in New York Rangers goalie Alexander Georgiev, and noticeable need to improve their blue line, there hasn’t been a lot of discussion around what could be on the way out.
I also think the Maple Leafs have been asked about their UFA-to-be defenders — Tyson Barrie, Cody Ceci and Jake Muzzin. I don’t see Toronto falling out of the race, so the only way anything happens here is if they are convinced one of the younger defencemen needs a permanent big-minutes spot. (The three all play 20 minutes per night.)
No confirmation from either side, but it sounds like there is engagement in contract conversations with Muzzin. There’s no debate about his value and unique skillset on this roster. Term is as big as the salary, as Muzzin will be 31 next month.
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While it might be surprising to hear about other team’s being interested in players on the Leafs roster, it shouldn’t be for a couple of reasons.
It shouldn’t surprise people that the Leafs are pushing to sign Muzzin to a contract extension considering he is one of the team’s top defenders and the Leafs paid a pretty penny to get him last season. Having him around is valuable considering the team will likely be graduating Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren at some point in the not so distant future.
Even though Tyson Barrie has not had the impact many were expecting when the Leafs acquired him in the off-season, he still has value especially for his offensive game. Would it make sense to trade Barrie? If there are no immediate plans to re-sign him and a team offers something that is too hard to pass up then it should be considered.
It would also be easier to move Barrie if the Leafs feel that Sandin and Liljegren are capable of playing an extended role or if Travis Dermott can move to play on the right side.
Out of all those players however, you can easily make the case that Ceci should be the priority to move because if you can move out his cap hit, it would open up other possibilities. Of course, the Leafs would have to figure out how to replace him on the right side but it would probably be easier to find a bottom pairing right-handed defenceman than replacing someone like Barrie or Muzzin.
Kyle Dubas has a tough job ahead of him and you have to think that after Sheldon Keefe‘s comments from their loss to the Chicago Blackhawks and the team being out of the playoffs might give him more to think about when it comes to his plans heading into the trade deadline.
What do you think about the rumours about the team’s being interested in some of the Leafs defencemen? Who would you move if you got the chance? Let us know in the comments below.