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Kings are good fit for Leafs as potential trade partners

May 26, 2022, 2:57 PM ET [271 Comments]
Mike Augello
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With more than six weeks to go before the NHL Draft in Montreal, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas is likely doing his due diligence in regards to finding potential trade partners for either a core player such as William Nylander or a significant salary such as former King Jake Muzzin. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes it is possible that Dubas may be interested in the hockey version of the Kahwi Leonard for DeMar DeRozan deal pulled off by Masai Ujiri, which resulted in shaking the foundation of the Toronto Raptors and their NBA Championship in 2019.

If a one-for-one trade scenario does not come to fruition, then Toronto might opt for a deal where they clear salary for draft picks and/or young assets and then sign a free agent or trade for a player. One option that makes a lot of sense might involve the Los Angeles Kings. Dubas and Kings GM Rob Blake have made trades involving Muzzin, Kyle Clifford, and Jack Campbell in exchange for youngsters Sean Durzi, Trevor Moore, Carl Grundstrom, and a first-round pick (Tobias Bjornfot), which makes it likely that the two sides could strike a deal again.

The Kings made the postseason after a three-year absence and pushed Edmonton to seven games. Los Angeles has two goalies in veteran Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen, are definitely in the market for a veteran blueliner and scoring help have a bevy of young prospects on entry-level contracts, and more than $20 million in available cap space with the retirement of team captain Dustin Brown and the expiring contracts of with Olli Maatta and Alex Edler.

With Toronto’s core group losing in the first round for the sixth straight year, making an impact move to their lineup is more likely than ever before and the Kings have the right components to deal for Nylander, who has two years left on his deal before becoming a free agent.

2020 second overall pick Quinton Byfield, 2021 first rounder Brandt Clarke, former first-rounders Alex Turcotte, Rasmus Kupari, or youngsters Arthur Kaliyev and Tyler Madden could conceivably be part of a deal for a top-six forward.

Muzzin, who won a Cup with Los Angeles in 2014 and spent seven seasons with the Kings before being traded to Toronto in 2019, has two years remaining on his current deal and might be a better fit for the club looking for experience on the back end coming out of a rebuild than he was going into one.

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