In a sign of things probably to come, it was announced that the Los Angeles Kings traded stalwart defenseman Jake Muzzin to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a first round pick and a couple of prospects, recent second-round picks Carl Grundstrom and Sean Durzi.
Muzzin, 29 years old, signed with the Kings as a free agent in 2010. This season, he has four goals and 17 assists in 50 games played. He won the Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2014 and has 213 points (51 goals, 162 assists) in 496 career regular season games. Muzzin has 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 50 career playoff games.
The Ontario native still has two years left on his contract with a very team friendly $4 million AAV.
This is a great get for the Leafs who didn't sacrifice much in the way of high end prospects while adding some excellent depth to their blue line.
Grundstrom. 21 years old, is in his first full season of professional hockey in North America, having previously played for Frölunda and MODO in the SHL. The 6’ winger has 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists) in 42 games for the Toronto Marlies this season. He also appeared in 20 playoff games for the Marlies last season, tallying 14 points (eight goals, six assists) en route to capturing the Calder Cup. Grundstrom was a second round pick in the 2016 draft and will join the Ontario Reign.
Durzi is a 20 year old defenseman currently playing with the Guelph Storm after spending the rest of his major junior career with the Owen Sound Attack. Durzi has 11 points in eight games with Guelph (five goals, six assists) and overall in his OHL career has recorded 131 points (35 goals, 96 assists) in 171 career games. Durzi was a second round pick in the 2018 draft.
In media availability after completing the trade, Kings General Manager Rob Blake repeatedly spoke about this trade in terms of the future for the Kings.
Rob Blake: 'We're looking at a lot of different options...Moves will be made for the future of the organization."— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) January 29, 2019
Blake re trade action: 'There are active calls going on. Not sure it's much different from any other time.'— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) January 29, 2019
While Blake wasn’t quite as explicit as other GMs embarking on a rebuild about what is to come for the team, his message could not be more clear: this was not the last move he will be making, and he’s focused on building for the future of the Kings rather than holding out hope for a miracle now.
From Toronto’s side, Muzzin is already penciled in to take on top pairing duties for the Maple Leafs, in addition to bringing his veteran experience and leadership to the team.
And as for Muzzin himself? Surprised—but excited for the opportunity to play for his childhood favorite team.
Muzzin: "I was a little shocked to get the call... Very excited to join Toronto. I was just thinking about playing them, I was like damn, now I'm a part of that team."— James Mirtle (@mirtle) January 29, 2019
Jake Muzzin: "It's kind of funny how life works. Here we are and I'm coming back home to play for the team I rooted for growing up."— James Mirtle (@mirtle) January 29, 2019
Best of luck to Jake Muzzin, and welcome to Carl Grundstrom and Sean Durzi. We’ll have more about the trade, including a look back at Muzzin’s tenure with the Kings, as well as an introduction to the newest Kings prospects, in the coming days.