Maple Leafs acquire Jake Muzzin from Kings

Jake Muzzin							Sean Kilpatrick  THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, significantly boosting his fantasy value.

Los Angeles gets forward Carl Grundstrom and the rights to unsigned defenseman Sean Durzi in the deal, along with a first-round pick in 2019.

Drew Doughty, who for years benefitted from the Muzzin security blanket, playfully cracked at all-star weekend that Muzzin may have been his cheapest teammate when the dinner bill arrived, certainly his ability to fit nicely into the Leafs' impending salary-cap squeeze at a "cheap" $4-million AAV is a bonus for Dubas as he negotiates with big dogs Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.

The 29-year old Muzzin was drafted 141st overall in the 5th round of the 2007 draft by the Penguins. "He's proven himself over a good career now to be able to move the puck, to excel at playing against high-quality competition and to contribute offensively". "You hear rumblings and rumors and stuff like that and you just continue on with your ways until it actually happens and everything sinks in".

Muzzin has been known to deliver bone-crushing hits, which will surely endear him to Leafs fans. Very excited to join Toronto.

In 496 National Hockey League games, all with Los Angeles, Muzzin has 51 goals and 162 assists.

The Kings (20-26-4) sit last in the Western Conference with 44 points from 50 games.

Muzzin struggled through the 2016-17 season with 28 points and a minus-21 rating, but he bounced back last season with a career-high 42 points. "We're not happy about where we are".

"I think the key things for us is in acquiring a player like Jake is that he has been a very good defenceman in the National Hockey League for a long time".

"I was a little shocked to get the phone call", said Muzzin, a native of Woodstock.

With promising defensive prospects in their farm system, but no one ready to make the jump, bringing in another player via trade was Toronto's best chance of sufficiently upgrading that unit.

We won't know for certain if the Toronto Maple Leafs rookie general manager's first major trade since assuming the helm from Lou Lamoriello is a home run until the ball falls, but one couldn't blame the 33-year-old if he did a bat flip after flossing in his executive suite Monday night.

"His compete, his effort, and his work, have been mainstays", said Blake on Grundstrom's appeal to the Kings.

It's no secret that the Maple Leafs have been in search of an experienced right-handed defenceman, with management and scouting personnel making headlines last week after attending a number of Carolina Hurricanes games over the past couple months.

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