May 30, 2019 | 5:20pm ET
MAPLE LEAFS TRYING TO TRADE ZAITSEV
Nikita Zaitsev, defenceman
The Toronto Maple Leafs and defenceman Nikita Zaitsev have come to an agreement to work together to try to facilitate a trade, according to multiple reports.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman first reported the news on Thursday afternoon, indicating the two sides are looking to give the blueliner a “fresh start.”
After a difficult season, TOR and Nikita Zaitsev are working together to find him a fresh start. He is available and we will see where it goes.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 30, 2019
Zaitsev, 27, has five-years remaining on his contract, which comes with a $4.5 million salary cap hit and a 10-team no-trade list.
TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie reported it was Zaitsev who initiated the request, citing personal reasons. McKenzie also mentioned the Leafs might not be “in a salary cap position to retain much, if any, salary.”
Leafs GM Kyle Dubas briefly explored the trade market on Zaitsev during the season, but will certainly escalate his attempts in the coming weeks.
McKenzie reported that since news broke of Zaitsev’s availability, more teams have inquired about his services.
Since the league was made aware this morning of Zaitsev’s availability, there have been multiple inquiries but it remains to be seen how many teams expect TOR to retain salary or make a soft/limited return deal because of the term/$ owed him.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) May 30, 2019