The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators are working on a trade involving defenceman Nikita Zaitsev, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Although no framework has been agreed upon by both teams, the Senators reportedly could send defenceman Cody Ceci in return for Zaitsev, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports.
The Senators may wait until Zaitsev’s $3 million bonus is paid out on July 1.
TOR and OTT appear to have a tentative trade in place that would send Nikita Zaitsev to OTT in exchange for Cody Ceci. There may be another part or parts to it but the deal can’t be finalized until July 1, when TOR pays Zaitsev’s $3M signing bonus.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 30, 2019
Zaitsev asked for a trade at the end of last season and blasted the Maple Leafs organization and fan base during an interview conducted in Russian after the team was eliminated by the Boston Bruins.
The Leafs' blue liner also ripped into Hockey Night in Canada host Don Cherry, calling him a clown for making critical comments about his usage rate throughout the regular season
During the 2018-19 season, Zaitsev posted three goals and 14 points in 81 games.
Zaitsev's contract is one of the main points of contention, as he holds a $4.5 million cap hit for every season through 2023-24. However, Zaitsev’s contract will likely help the Senators meet the salary cap floor.
Ceci notched seven goals and 26 points in 74 games, posting a -26 rating on a Senators team that struggled throughout the 2018-19 campaign.
Cody Ceci has already received a qualifying offer, and a team trading for him could not walk away from that if he chose to sign it. It is, however, very rare for a player to simply sign their QO.— Draglikepull (@draglikepull) June 29, 2019
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