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Jake Muzzin

(Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Revisiting The Jake Muzzin Trade

Jake Muzzin
Revisiting the Jake Muzzin trade. Did Toronto get the better end of the deal or are the Kings satisfied with their return? It’s memory lane time. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Revisiting The Jake Muzzin Trade

It looks like we may have seen the last of Jake Muzzin. The tough-nosed Leafs’ defenseman is suffering from serious neck issues and likely won’t play another game, at least this year. With Muzzin’s career possibly coming to a close, what better time than to look back at the time he was traded? It’s time to revisit the Jake Muzzin trade.

500-foot upper deck home run appears to be a bit of an exaggeration years later. A win-win for both sides may be a more accurate representation.

Muzzin, 33, likely will have his career cut short via injury. In five years with the Leafs, Muzzin played in 187 games registering 81 points and a +38 rating. When healthy, Muzzin was a force on the blue line. Given the defensive woes of Morgan Rielly, Muzzin’s presence on that blue line was vital for a number of years. It may be fair to say Kyle Dubas would have made this trade again had he had the hindsight of knowing Muzzin would be reliable from a health standpoint. It just wasn’t the case.

The package that went back to LA wasn’t exactly a treasure chest of assets. Grundstrom is still with the Kings but is more so in a bottom six reserve role. Björnfot is in the last year of his ELC with the Kings and hasn’t made any real impact at the NHL level.

The crown jewel of this trade will be Sean Durzi who’s quietly turning into a force on that Kings blue line. The former Leafs second rounder in 2018 has 26 points in 46 games and is an even bigger force on the powerplay. Durzi’s offensive game is ahead of the defensive side. However, there’s a real argument to be made that the smart move would have been to keep Durzi and plug him into the role that Rielly currently occupies for Toronto.

Durzi, 24, is going to wind up being a really good player for Los Angeles. I understand that fantasy hockey isn’t the end all be all. However, Durzi ranks 19th in ESPN scoring for all defensemen. That’s while playing second fiddle to Drew Doughty. Durzi has three fewer points than Doughty this year in over six less minutes of ice time per game. Again, the offense is ahead of the defense but Durzi is really starting to round his game out in his second NHL season.

Injuries really impacted this deal. It may be even fair to give a slight lean to Los Angeles if Durzi continues to develop into a force. It’s hard to blame Dubas for making this trade from a Toronto perspective. They didn’t give up a huge haul for someone that should have been a core piece of the blue line on Cup contending teams. The Leafs just never got the everyday consistency they were looking for.

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