Defenseman Jake Muzzin is expected to return with the Toronto Maple Leafs and while that’s big news for the organization who could certainly use his help, the talk surrounding Muzzin on Monday was more long-term than short-term focused.
It’s fairly common knowledge the Maple Leafs are facing a situation where they could see massive turnover on the blue line from this season to next. With four key defensemen scheduled for free agency at the end of the season, Muzzin is arguably among the most well-rounded. If the Maple Leafs were going to invest in a d-man, he might be the choice above Tyson Barrie and Cody Travis Dermott.
But, with salary cap issues that could make it tough to retain Muzzin based on a likely high asking price, the Maple Leafs will need to hope Muzzin wants to stay and is easy to negotiate with. So far, Muzzin is saying the right things.
The defenseman spoke to reporters at today’s morning skate after he was recalled from a recent conditioning stint.
The organization, the way they look after us. The guys here the buzz in the city about hockey is huge. Being close to home is always a nice touch, especially with a little one around now. There’s lots of good things here and I’d love to stay.
This is great news, or at least, a great start for GM Kyle Dubas who will have his hands full this summer.
Muzzin Signing Before The Deadline Could Be Key
Speculation is that Dubas is looking for players on the trade market that aren’t necessarily rentals. He’d like to grab someone with term, thus knowing what the future holds for Muzzin could be extremely helpful.
If Dubas knows who is going, he can push forward on deals for players who will be a long-term part of the future. If he knows who is staying, Dubas might not have to obtain so many contracts he’ll be committed to after he acquires them.
When asked about his thoughts the Maple Leafs might be interested in former teammate Alec Martinez, Muzzin said, “Oh really? Well, he’s great defender, I played with him a long time. It is what it is.”
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