Report: The Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Nikita Zaitsev to Ottawa

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas is a magician.

Just days after somehow ridding himself of Patrick Marleau’s ridiculous contract, the Toronto Maple Leafs GM has done it again.

The man who is said to be responsible for getting out of the David Clarkson and Dion Phaneuf deals has moved yet another unmovable contract.

Assuming reports are correct.

Nikita Zaitsev Traded to Senators

The Toronto Maple Leafs have, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, traded Zaitsev to Ottawa (along with another player or asset as of yet unknown) in exchange for Cody Ceci.

Should this trade in fact come to fruition, it would be another amazing coup by the Leafs young GM.

As you can see from the chart below, Cody Ceci is not a good player.  He brings slightly more offense than Zaitsev, but is way worse defensively. On a team with Rielly, Muzzin, Dermott and maybe Gardiner, Ceci wouldn’t get the opportunity for even that much offense, so he is useless.

Chart from and used with permission.

Ceci is a group 2 free-agent, and his current cap hit is $4.3 million – just slightly less than Zaitsev.

Unless he accepted his qualifying offer, the Leafs could just refuse to sign him and he’d become a UFA.  If he does accept, then it would be one year and he’s probably flipable to another team.

Either way, it’s highly doubtful Ceci ever plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Even though he is a right-hand shot, and has size, he still isn’t very good. I suppose there’s an outside shot they keep him, but why?

The Toronto Maple Leafs have Calle Rosen, Andreas Borgman, Timothy Liljegren, Justin Holl, Jesper Lindgren, Rasmis Sandin and several other players who offer more upside and couldn’t possibly be any worse.

If this trade goes down, there is a rumour that it will also include Connor Brown and his $2 million cap hit.  If the sweetner is in fact another player the Leafs want to move anyways, it will be an unbelievable win for Dubas.

If, as is more likely, the cost is a second rounder or something like that, then it will still be a win, only less so.

Next: 2019 Toronto Maple Leafs Player Grades

Getting out of Zaitsev and Marleau’s contracts at a reasonable cost will go a long way to helping the Toronto Maple Leafs win a Stanley Cup.  Kyle Dubas is fast proving himself to be among the best GM’s in the NHL and as we wait for him to make his first major misstep, the one thing we can be sure of is that this isn’t it.





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