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Anonymous Maple Leaf to Nikita Zadorov: “You are exactly what this team needs”

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Alex Hobson
3 months ago
Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman has been dropping some absolute bombs on 32-thoughts lately. Last week he planted the seed to spark all of the Nikita Zadorov trade rumours, commenting on his belief that the Leafs are interested in him, and after a multitude of other updates regarding that situation this past weekend, he further added to the fire. 
If you missed everything, here’s a cliff notes version to get you up to speed. Following the Flames’ 5-4 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs on Friday night, Zadorov reportedly requested a trade. It was originally reported by Kevin Weekes and later picked up by Pierre LeBrun, both confirming that the request was made through his agent Dan Milstein. Combo that with TSN insider Chris Johnston reporting that Zadorov would “welcome” a trade to Toronto, and some cryptic tweets from Milstein about buying Leafs tickets, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a juicy rumour. Just like Mom used to make. 
Getting back on track here, it sounds like general manager Brad Treliving isn’t the only person in the organization interested in Zadorov. On the latest edition of 32 Thoughts: The Podcast, Friedman reported that at some point during Friday’s Leafs-Flames game, an anonymous Leafs player vocalized a desire to bring him to Toronto. Here’s the exact transcription of the conversation, which you can listen to on any streaming platform: 
EF: “It was interesting…so Zadorov plays under 16 minutes on Friday night, they lose to Toronto, he delivers a HUGE hit on Tyler Bertuzzi, and I’ll tell you something else. The word going around on Sunday night is that a Maple Leaf player said to Zadorov on the ice “You’re exactly what we need.” 
JM: “Hang on, was that former teammate and London Knight Max Domi?”
EF: “I don’t know. They wouldn’t tell me who said it.”
There’s no point in trying to rack our brains and figure out which Leaf said it, Domi being the one makes sense. It could have been Mitch Marner, who was Zadorov’s teammate during his rookie year in London. I also think the prospect of Bertuzzi being the one to say it, specifically after Zadorov rocked him, is hilarious. But, I have no proof of that. It’s just a funny thought. 
Either way, it’s starting to seem like a Nikita Zadorov-to-Toronto trade is a horribly kept secret. Friedman did go on to say that the Flames are in no rush to make a trade and that they’re going to operate on their own schedule rather than force a move, but LeBrun did mention that Milstein and his camp were looking to get something done quickly. So, it’s an interesting situation to keep an eye on. 
Also worth noting, Sportsnet Calgary Flames insider Eric Francis, put out an interesting tidbit about a Leafs prospect that has a connection to Calgary. 
Nothing is concerned, but one thing that’s certain is that the Leafs have the assets to pull off a Zadorov trade, and depending on what kind of offers they get, they should be all-in on trying to make the move happen for the right price. Treliving is familiar with him, and hell, even some of the players are lobbying for it. It’s no secret that the Leafs are going to have to address that defensive corps sooner rather than later, and there might not be a better trade partner out there right now.

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