In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs News & Rumors, I’ll take a look at three players who are the topics of recent Maple Leafs rumors. Two of these players are already on the team’s roster; and, if there’s any merit to these rumors, might be on their way out of town. Those two players are Jake Muzzin and William Nylander.
Then there’s one player – Toronto-native P.K. Subban – who’s been the topic of Maple Leafs rumors for several years. Because he’s on an expiring contract, might this be the offseason there’s interest in Subban coming to Toronto?
Item One: Jake Muzzin Back to Los Angeles Kings Rumor
In his Hockey Buzz post yesterday, Mike Augello noted that the Los Angeles Kings and the Maple Leafs might make good trade partners, and one player potentially being moved is someone who’s already been with the Kings. That’s Jake Muzzin. Because one issue in trading Muzzin is his no-trade clause, if Muzzin (and family) remember California well they might be persuaded to waive that clause.
Augello noted that the Kings are on the market for a veteran defenseman and Muzzin might be the kind of player they’d be after. He also believed the Kings might be interested in moving some of their young players for a top-six forward, and he noted William Nylander as a player who might move.
Young Kings’ players who “could conceivably” be moved (this is a rumor remember) are listed. They include the team’s 2020 second-overall pick Quinton Byfield, 2021 first-rounder Brandt Clarke, and two former first-rounders in Alex Turcotte or Rasmus Kupari. Also on the list were youngsters Arthur Kaliyev and Tyler Madden.
Muzzin won a Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2014 and spent seven seasons there before he came to Toronto in 2019. He has two years left on his current deal and his experience and leadership might be seen as of value to the Kings.
Item Two: William Nylander Is Scoring Lots for Team Sweden
Speaking of William Nylander, it’s always interesting to keep my eyes on him if he’s playing international hockey. He’s seemed to do especially well playing with Team Sweden over the years. This year is no exception. After the Maple Leafs were eliminated in round one, Nylander traveled to Finland to join Team Sweden at the IIHF World Championships.
Related: A Brief History of NHL Uniforms
Yesterday, although Team Sweden took a 3-0 lead into the third period on Team Canada, the Canadian team came roaring back to win 4-3 in overtime. Nylander scored the game’s second goal in the loss.
But that’s no surprise. As soon as he landed in Finland, he jumped on the ice against Team Norway, scored a goal, and added two assists. In his second game, he scored the only goal (on a power play) to lead Team Sweden to a tough 1-0 win over Team Latvia. Now, as noted, with his goal yesterday against Team Canada, he’s scored in every game he’s played thus far.
Nylander is such a great offensive force that, if he were on his way out of town like so many rumors hint, I’d miss him.
Item Three: P.K. Subban to the Maple Leafs Rumor
Keeping with rumors today, given that Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas seems to seek veterans of note who wouold sign for lower salaries, P.K. Subban is one of those names that seems to keep popping up as a potential player for Toronto. Subban is 33 years old, a right-handed defenseman, and his $9 million contract and the salary-cap hit that goes with are ending. That makes him a UFA this offseason. If there ever were any traction to a Subban to Toronto move, this summer would be ripe for that move.
Related: 7 Things About P.K. Subban
Obviously, there are issues. First, Subban’s play has declined and he’s no longer the take-charge offensive defenseman he once was. Furthermore, because he’s an offense-first defenseman, he’d have to be paired with a defensive-first player. But, if he were willing to come home to Toronto on a cheap contract, might there be some interest?
On the upside, Subban plays with an edge. He also blasts the shot from the point, and that kind of play might fit both Michael Bunting’s and John Tavares’ skills and hand-eye coordination. As Jon Steitzer of Leafs Nation noted in his post recently, until Subban signs with another NHL team, his name will keep popping up in Maple Leafs’ rumors.
What’s Next for the Maple Leafs?
For those Maple Leafs’ fans interested in ex-Toronto players, Zach Hyman’s Edmonton Oilers advanced to the Western Conference finals last night with a win against the Calgary Flames. Tonight former-Maple Leafs’ Nazem Kadri’s Colorado Avalanche play the St. Louis Blues. Should the Avalanche win, they’d clinch that series and the two teams (and former Maple Leafs’ teammates) would meet in the next round.
By the way, although he left Toronto quite a while ago, former Maple Leafs’ player Tyler Bozak scored the overtime goal to help keep his Blues team alive in that series. There seem to be former Maple Leafs players everywhere on this Stanley Cup journey.
The Old Prof (Jim Parsons, Sr.) taught for more than 40 years in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. He’s a Canadian boy, who has two degrees from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate from the University of Texas. He is now retired on Vancouver Island, where he lives with his family. His hobbies include playing with his hockey cards and simply being a sports fan – hockey, the Toronto Raptors, and CFL football (thinks Ricky Ray personifies how a professional athlete should act).
If you wonder why he doesn’t use his real name, it’s because his son – who’s also Jim Parsons – wrote for The Hockey Writers first and asked Jim Sr. to use another name so readers wouldn’t confuse their work.
Because Jim Sr. had worked in China, he adopted the Mandarin word for teacher (老師). The first character lǎo (老) means “old,” and the second character shī (師) means “teacher.” The literal translation of lǎoshī is “old teacher.” That became his pen name. Today, other than writing for The Hockey Writers, he teaches graduate students research design at several Canadian universities.
He looks forward to sharing his insights about the Toronto Maple Leafs and about how sports engages life more fully. His Twitter address is https://twitter.com/TheOldProf