Muzzin a Good Fit
Monday evening, the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired D Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings for F Carl Grunstrom, the rights to D Sean Durzi and Toronto’s 2019 first-round pick. This is a blockbuster trade for these two clubs as the Leafs have sorely needed a defenseman all season.
Fans have deemed D Jake Gardiner as the whipping boy of the franchise this season for his lack of defensive play. His skills are better suited for breaking the puck out of the zone and joining the rush. Now the Leafs have a stay at home defenseman with a little bite to his game as they make their final push towards the playoffs.
This trade looks to bode well for both sides. Muzzin’s name has been circulating the rumor mill for months now as potential trade bait. The Kings, who are trending in the opposite direction of the Leafs, are looking to shed some money to help with their cap issues and Muzzin’s $4M coming off the books is a beautiful thing for them. They also get to stockpile first rounds picks for this year’s draft, which is looking to be pretty deep. Imagine a world where LA gets Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko and then luck out near the end of the first round and draft an another stud. Scary things could be coming in California.
As far as the Leafs’ end of the deal goes, they get the piece they’ve been looking for all season. It’s no secret that Toronto’s offense is high-powered, possibly the best in the league. But the Leafs sorely lacked in defense. Muzzin addresses that issue.
The 29-year-old blue liner is exceptional in his own end and plays like he is on a mission. Toronto fans are going to love having him. It will be exciting to see what the Leafs do going forward when having to extend Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner this offseason; Jake Gardiner might be the odd man out due to cap reasons.
Only time will tell, but for now this trade is looking good for both sides.