Monday, January 28, 2019

NHL trade review: Leafs acquire Muzzin



           The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired defenseman Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forward Carl Grundstrom, the rights to defenseman Sean Durzi and the Leafs' first round pick in 2019.

           Aside from Morgan Rielly, Toronto's defense has been their main issue. Bringing in Muzzin strengthens their team defensively, and he's also now their second best defense offensively (Rielly). They chose to use their first round pick on Muzzin, who will be a free agent after the 2019-20 season. They don't give up any top prospects. Grundstrom is a 2016 second round pick playing in the AHL, and Durzi is their most recent second round pick, and hasn't signed a contract yet.

          Muzzin, 29, has scored four goals and 17 assists for 21 points in 50 games for the Kings this year. In his NHL career, all for Los Angeles, Muzzin has scored 51 goals and 162 assists for 213 points in 496 games. He's averaged about 99 blocked shots and 152 hits in his seven career full seasons. He averaged 178 shots a year from 2013-14 to 2017-18.

         For the Kings, they are currently in last place, and things don't seem to be getting better. Muzzin was their most obvious trade bait, with just one year left after this season, and he was thought to be good enough to net them a first round pick and more. And that's exactly what they received. They get their 2019 first, which will be late in the opening round, Grundstrom, an AHL prospect that could be NHL ready by late 2019-20, or 2020-21. Durzi was recently drafted, and is a defenseman, so we might not see him in the NHL until 2021-22 or later.

         Grundstrom, 21, has 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points in 42 games for the AHL Toronto Marlies in 2018-19. He played most of last year for Frolunda HC in the SweHL, and scored 17 goals, with seven more assists for 24 points in 35 games.

          Durzi, 20, has scored five goals and six assists for 11 points in eight games for the Guelph Storm, plus three goals and 14 assists for 17 points in 18 games for the Owen Sound Attack this year. For Owen Sound in 2017-18, Durzi scored 15 goals and 49 points in 40 games.

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