The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced that they have acquired defender Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings, in exchange for their first-round pick, forward prospect Carl Grundstrom, and defence prospect Sean Durzi.

The Maple Leafs have been hurting for experience and defensive talent on the blue line- though a right shot defender would have been many people’s preference - but the left shot Muzzin is an affordable option to help solidify the back end for a long playoff run.

Jake Muzzin

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Muzzin’s 21 points puts him 10th in scoring for the Leafs, and third among defenders.  He had great shot differentials for a time (during the era when all of the Kings did); he’s a little below par now, but that still leaves him as the #1 Kings defenceman in CF% this year.  LA has also outscored the opposition with him on the ice at 5v5 this year by a very wide margin...which is saying something, because the Kings as a whole are having an awful year.

Some microstats, if those are your thing:

Muzzin has a $4,000,000 cap hit this season and the next. He performs more than adequately at that amount. With this price he may be the replacement for  Jake Gardiner next season.

The Muzzin acquisition adds another former Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds player to the team, as this is the theme of the Kyle Dubas era of the Maple Leafs.   Muzzin played four seasons in the Soo, from 2006 to 2010, and was drafted when Dubas was a scout for the team.

Carl Grundstrom was selected 57th overall in the 2016 NHL draft. The now 21-year-old is a gritty power forward for the Toronto Marlies who has put up 13G/16A/29P in 42 GP this season.  20-year-old Sean Durzi was the Leafs’ second-rounder in 2018, currently plying his trade in the OHL with 28 points in 26 GP this season. Neither is an A prospect, but Grundstrom especially was a top forward prospects in the organization outside of the NHL.

You have to give to get.

This is exactly the type of deal that both the Kings and Leafs were expected to make this year: the Leafs receiving a veteran with playoff experience for a Stanley Cup run the next two seasons; the Kings acquiring prospects and picks to kick-off their rebuild.

The Leafs have made their move for a big defensive acquisition.  Let’s hope it ends in a ring.