Yesterday it was made known that the Leafs and Nikita Zaitsev were looking to make a clean split. After back-to-back nightmare seasons (especially offensively) for Zaitsev, and with a limited no-trade clause set to kick in a month from now, the timing of this isn’t all that surprising. I mean, the Leafs don’t let much get outside their cone of silence these days, but it’s been a badly-kept secret that they’ve at least gauged trade interest for the defenceman since last summer due to his problematic contract that Lou Lamoriello put together.
The only thing that’s changed is that now Zaitsev also wants to end this relationship, and with that will come a very public trade negotiation process.
It was Nikita Zaitsev who, for personal reasons, asked TOR today to try to facilitate a trade. He has five years remaining on a contract with an AAV of $4.5M. TOR will try to oblige Zaitsev but are not in a salary cap position to retain much, if any, salary.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) May 30, 2019
Since the league was made aware this morning of Zaitsev’s availability, there have been multiple inquiries but it remains to be seen …
Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation