Nikita Zaitsev who has like 6 years left at 4.75 million is drawing interest from across the league
Trade discussions will heat up in the days leading up to next weeks draft. Mentioned Vancouver’s interest in Nikita Zaitsev last week. Sounds like the Oilers have some interest as well.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 13, 2019
- According to TSN’s Darren Dreger the Edmonton Oilers are “highly” interested in acquiring Toronto’s Nikita Zaitsev.
- The Oilers have pushed the Vancouver Canucks out as top trade partners in acquiring Zaitsev.
- It was reported last month that Zaitsev and the Maple Leafs management came to a mutual agreement to find him a new home.
- Canucks general manager Jim Benning confirmed Monday he is looking to add a top-four defenceman this summer.
“Going forward now, if we are going to add through free agency, we want to try to add top-four defencemen or top-six forwards, so I think our needs in that way have changed,” Benning said. “I haven’t been shy about stating that we would like to improve our defense. There are different avenues to try to do that, so we’re looking at all those avenues.”
- The Vancouver Canucks were interested at first, but nothing never came to conclude a trade.
- And now the Edmonton Oilers want him, and are ready to find a trade that will benefit both organizations.
- Why the Oilers would want a third-pairing defenseman carrying a $4.5-million annual salary-cap hit over the next five years.
- Unless the Leafs are prepared to accept winger Milan Lucic in return, Staples believes acquiring Zaitsev doesn’t make sense for the Oilers.
- The notion of Zaitsev to Vancouver isn’t being well-received by Canucks followers. “No, thanks,” said the Vancouver Sun’s Patrick Johnson on Tuesday.
- I don’t doubt there’s been some discussion by the Oilers or Canucks with the Leafs about Zaitsev.
- Both clubs could be trying to squeeze the Leafs into taking back a toxic contract or packaging a good young player with Zaitsev.
- Zaitsev had a standout rookie season with the Leafs in 2016-17 where he recorded four goals and 32 assists in 82 games.
- The club, then led by general manager Lou Lamoriello, signed the former KHL All-Star to a seven-year contract extension worth $4.5 million per season.
- The Russian defenceman, however, has struggled since. He recorded three goals and 11 assists in 81 games this season while averaging 20:28 per game.
Nikita Zaitsev, the past two seasons, on ice with and without Jake Gardiner at 5v5.
(all data via @NatStatTrick)
With (1629 mins):
Without (432 mins):
Not the whole story by any stretch, but interesting.
— Jonathan Willis (@JonathanWillis) June 13, 2019