Just because Nikita Zaitsev wants out of Toronto, doesn’t mean that he is a perfect fit for the New York Islanders just because Lou Lamoriello signed him.
It appears that Russian defenseman Nikita Zaitsev no longer wants to be a part of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Some have pointed to the New York Islanders as potential suitors in a trade because of the Lou Lamoriello connection.
Zaitsev has talent but is he a fit? The 27-year-old is coming off a 14 point season where he missed just one game. He averaged over 20 minutes a game but he wasn’t nearly as good as he was two years ago.
His best year was his first year, a 36 point season in 2016-2017. His stock has fallen since that season two years ago. Yes, he has talent but the Islanders are pretty much all set on the right side.
As currently constructed they already have Johnny Boychuk, Ryan Pulock, and Scott Mayfield on the NHL roster. In the prospect pool, they have Noah Dobson and Bode Wilde who both impressed this year in their respective leagues.
Trading for a right-handed shooting d-man while you already have five solid options in your system seems silly. This is one of those times where you have to forget the connection to the General Manager and look at what the team actually needs.
If you’re trading with Toronto you’re looking to pry a forward away from there, not a defenseman. The Isles are more than set at that position.
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