Is Korbinian Holzer Going To Be Traded?

(screen grab via mapleleafs.com)

The 23-year old defenseman is in the middle of his second AHL season, and rumour has it that multiple teams might be interested enough to take him in exchange for some help right now.

According to CBC columnist Elliotte Friedman, the Anaheim Ducks are one of the teams interested in the young prospect:

Obviously, there’s a lot of talk about Luke Schenn. But hearing that a few teams are watching Toronto AHL defenceman Korbinian Holzer very closely (Anaheim is one). A few guys who see him much more than I do think he’s ready for a consistent shot at the NHL. He’s defensive-minded (a good penalty killer) and doesn’t back down. Could be part of a package for something.

Holzer has had a meteoric rise since the Leafs drafted him out of a second division German league back in 2006. Holzer went on to play three seasons in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL, Germany’s top league), improving offensively and earning more minutes with each passing season. Last year, he made his AHL debut with the Marlies, and his strong play earned him a two-game NHL cameo.

In a case of great timing, Pension Plan Puppets did a write-up on Holzer earlier today as part of their Top-25 Under 25 series, ranking him as the 15th-best player under the age of 25 (including NHL’ers) in the Leafs’ organization. From that write-up:

Holzer has been an invaluable contributor to the Leafs organization this season; taking on key roles and being relied upon as a #1 defenceman in the AHL, and coming up and watching from the press box to cover for injuries to other defenceman in the NHL. Holzer finds himself occupying the dreaded "tweener" role; caught between two where he seems to be too good to remain in the AHL, but at the same time he hasn’t yet established himself as an NHL player yet.

For the Leafs, deep on defense and in the thick of the playoff hunt, now is not the time to give Holzer an extended opportunity at the NHL level. The Ducks, among other teams, are under no such constraints – the playoffs are already a distant bell in Anaheim, and they’re as shallow as any team in the game. Anaheim is also a good fit, given Burke’s history of pulling off trades with his former team.

As part of a package, Holzer might allow the Leafs to add immediately without costing them anything they can’t do without now. He’s the spitting image of a prospect who could be on the move before the NHL Trade Deadline.