The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently in discussion with pending unrestricted free-agent defenseman Jake Muzzin. However, with the team’s cap situation next season and the fact that their top two blueliners, Muzzin and Tyson Barrie, will both be UFAs this summer, it becomes quite an interesting negotiations.
In fact, The Athletic’s James Mirtle (subscription required) writes that the Maple Leafs have a challenging negotiations in front of them. While Muzzin is a local, the team has to consider his age before signing him as he will turn 31 next week and the team cannot afford to be loaded down with a player down the road with a long-term deal. Unfortunately, Mirtle writes that Muzzin isn’t signing with Toronto on a short-term deal and suggests that it likely would be a four to five-year pact at about $5MM.
If the team does sign him to a contract similar to that, it is important that Toronto signs him to a front-loaded contract, which might make him more attractive to other teams later in the deal, which might allow Toronto to move him later on in the deal if he doesn’t age well. That might be the best-case scenario for the franchise, according to Mirtle.
- The Philadelphia Flyers are in an interesting position as the trade deadline nears. After falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday, the Flyers are now holding onto the last wild card playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Yet, The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor (subscription required) writes that the Flyers will be buyers no matter what at the trade deadline. Regardless, the team likely won’t be going after the big names on the market as the team lacks the cap space to do that and in reality, Philadelphia isn’t really a Stanley Cup contender just yet. Nor is the team ready to move a first-round pick for player either. However, O’Connor adds that the team is far more likely to add a lower-level target, most likely upgrading at the wing.
- The Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski reports that while defenseman Zach Bogosian has cleared waivers and been assigned to the Rochester Americans of the AHL, Bogosian’s agent, Darren Ferris said the two will meet in the next couple days and to discuss his next step, which will include whether Bogosian accepts the assignment to Rochester. The injury-prone 29-year-old has only appeared in five AHL games in his career, back during the 2008-09 season and may not be too keen on returning there at this point in his career.
- NHL.com’s Amanda Stein reports that there is a good chance that all-star center Nico Hischier could return to the team on Sunday. Hischier, who has been out of the lineup since Feb. 1 with a knee injury, would give the team a significant boost if ready to return. Hischier has 13 goals and 32 points in 46 games.