Toronto Maple Leafs Need To Prioritize Zadorov Over Kane

(Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
(Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been linked to two options in recent days, Nikita Zadorov and Patrick Kane.

Both have strong resumes and have the potential to help impact the Toronto Maple Leafs down the road.

But as talented as he is, signing Kane feels less of a need compared to Zadorov, especially as the Leafs offense starts to click into place.

The Leafs need help on defense, and must prioritize getting better there before they even think about adding a forward.

Toronto Maple Leafs Focus Should Be Squarely On Nikita Zadorov

Nikita Zadorov’s agent, Dan Milstein, set social media on fire by posting Twitter, that the Calgary Flames may have trouble keeping Zadorov if he doesn’t gain ice time.

Insider Kevin Weekes later reported Zadorov has requested a trade from the Flames, coincidentally right as Zadorov finished playing against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Nikita Zadorov, 28, brings a lot that the Leafs could need on the defensive end, being a physically imposing player at 6’6 and 248lbs.

Zadorov has regularly been a solid defensive shutdown defensemen in the league the past few seasons, not only having the size to dominate the competition, but the IQ to execute defensive plays as well.

Leafs fans already got a taste of Zadorov’s talent against Calgary on the 10th, where Zadorov delivered with a goal, as well as leading in CF% (corsi for%) with 59.5%, the best among all Flames players, and yet Zadorov only received 15:33 TOI. It’s not a surprise why Zadorov has asked out.

Zadorov’s physically challenging game presents a much needed necessity in the Leafs blueline.

Toronto is in need for a player who can play tough, and as they are currently dressing several defenseman who are outright hurting the team, a player like Zadorov could be a big help.

Of course, Nikita Zadorov is not exciting as Patrick Kane.

The accolades would cause jealousy to many, a 3x Stanley Cup Winner, a Hart & Art Ross Winner, with two 100 point seasons, and a 92 point effort 2 seasons ago. But where Zadorov fills a position of need for a defensive grinder, Kane feels like an unnecessary addition with the recent offensive improvements from Free Agent acquisitions Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi, who have found their spark after slow starts with the Leafs.

Matthew Knies & Nick Robertson seem to have proven themselves worthy on solidifying their roster parts, and Robertson would likely be sent back down to the Marlies if Kane is signed, something that seems unproductive.

Additionally, Kane is 35, and he is coming of major surgery.  In addition, it’s been almost a full decade since he was regularly winning his minutes at 5v5.  The Leafs simply do not need another player that only helps on the power-play.  (

Patrick Kane, one of the NHL’s greatest offensive talents, is not easy to pass up, and for the right price, would not be completely illogical for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the only way he can really help is if he was signed for the league-minimum to play a role like Jason Spezza did on the fourth line, and there is no way that is happening.

As good as Patrick Kane is, the role he fills looks to be already solidly strong, where Nikita Zadorov is an option for an area at need, and one that the Leafs have struggled to hold down for years.

Maybe Patrick Kane will return to his old form in Toronto or somewhere else and make this article look foolish in the months to come, but it seems pretty clear the Leafs need to focus on improving their blue-line.

Next. The Leafs Might Be In Trouble. dark

They have limited cap space and should use that to get Zadorov, not Kane.