January 5, 2019 | 12:42pm ET
TheFourthPeriod.com

MAPLE LEAFS INTERESTED IN KRONWALL?

 
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Niklas Kronwall, defenceman

 

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas is believed to be exploring the trade market for a veteran defensive-minded defenceman who can preferably play the right side.

While the Maple Leafs have been linked to a few players this season, most are key star pieces on their current team and any blockbuster-type move involving Toronto is more likely to occur in the off-season, if at all.

With a little more than $8.75 million in available salary cap space this season, the Leafs have plenty of space to add one or two assets for a Stanley Cup run this spring.

One player the Leafs are supposedly eyeing is Detroit Red Wings veteran Niklas Kronwall, who is in the final-year of his current contract.

Kronwall, 37, owns a 10-team trade-list as part of his no-movement clause, and was coached by current Leafs bench boss Mike Bobcock during his 10-year run in Detroit.

With the Red Wings sitting 14th in the Eastern Conference and 10 points out of a playoff spot halfway through the season, they’re expected to look to sell some of their pending free agents, including goalie Jimmy Howard, whom Detroit wants a first-round pick in a package for, and forwards Gustav Nyquist and Thomas Vanek, both of whom own full no-trade clauses.

If the Leafs shift their focus elsewhere as they lead up to the Feb. 25 trade deadline, the team could focus on the likes of pending UFAs Adam McQuaid of the New York Rangers or Jay Bouwmeester of the St. Louis Blues.