Fedorov: Zaitsev, Leafs have agreement in place

As if there was any doubt, CSKA GM Sergei Fedorov has pretty much confirmed that Russian defenceman Nikita Zaitsev will be moving on from the KHL and joining the Toronto Maple Leafs this offseason.

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This very, very nearly wraps up a year’s worth of reports that Zaitsev is coming to Toronto, but maybe not, but almost definitely is. In fact, our very first post on Zaitsev was in response to an agreement between him and the Leafs, but had to be edited down to ‘interest between the two parties’ after we couldn’t find enough proof.

Zaitsev, 24, scored eight goals and 26 points in 46 games this year for Moscow. 

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Our own Jeff Veillette did a bit of a deep dive into Zaitsev that you can read here. As he mentions, KHL contracts expire on April 30th, so we may get get some closure on this in just a couple weeks’ time. 

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  • MatsSundin#13

    Almost officially confirming great news. Future possible free agent signings aside he will instantly become our 3rd, 4th, or maybe 2nd? best defenseman.

    Good on Shanny and Co. for that jump last year!

    • Harte of a Lion

      I would guess he would start with Rielly however Marincin (who Babcock called the Leafs “Anton Stralman” high praise huh?) looked pretty good the last 20 games playing with him.

      Lets see how he adjusts to the NHL but with another puck moving D who’s skating and passing are his strengths, plus he isn’t afraid to shoot the puck, might make Gardiner redundant and could he then be packaged with a Kadri or JVR to Winnipeg for Trouba and their 1st?

      The Leafs have a LOT of left shooting D prospects that show great possibilities starting with Löov and Nielsen.

      In his brief time with the Marlies, Nielsen has not looked out of place and he has the size and mobility Babcock covets.

  • Canadian Hockey Fan

    Good signing Leafs. He has the potential to be a solid defenceman in the NHL. Hopefully Matthews or one of the Finns, and Stamkos join the Leafs as well. Should be an interesting couple of months.

  • Gary Empey

    Any time a team can sign a young, top four, defenceman without losing any of their own players, has to be considered a good move.

    One has to like the fact he has been on the first all-star team, and played in a KHL All-Star Game.

    With this signing and 3 of our junior defencemen all having great seasons, it is starting to look like we may soon have a top defensive squad.