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Toronto Maple Leafs Reportedly Building Interest In 2 Former Vancouver Canucks – Hockey Writers –

According to Rick Dhaliwal of the Donnie & Dhali show, the Toronto Maple Leafs are reportedly interested in the two. Vancouver Canucks players set to become unrestricted free agents (UFAs): Dakota Joshua and Nikita Zadorov.

Dhaliwal had this to say about the Maple Leafs’ interest: “I wouldn’t be surprised if the Maple Leafs are the team that takes a long-term look at Zadorov and Joshua when they get to July 1. Joshua is a highly sought after player. right now and say, ‘We need that kind of guy in the playoffs.’ I’m not going to tell you that if Joshua hits July 1, he’s going to have a very good interest.”

Joshua and Zadorov have connections in Toronto

Both players have connections to the Maple Leafs organization, so it makes sense for the team to be interested in them. Joshua and Toronto’s newly hired head coach, Craig Berube, were both in St. Louis. Louis Blues from 2020-22, while Joshua was drafted by the Maple Leafs in the 2014 NHL Draft but traded to the Blues in 2019 for future consideration.

Related: Kypreos Reports Map Leaves Interest in Montour & Tanev

As for Zadorov, he and Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving have a relationship dating back to their days with the Calgary Flames through the 2023-24 season. Like Chris Tanev, Treliving tried his best to get Zadorov to the Flames but couldn’t match the asking price. Zadorov was moved to Vancouver, where he had a great season and ran with the team.

If they both become free agents, it wouldn’t be surprising to see these two wear the blue and white next season and become instant fan favorites in Leafs Nation.

Predicting Joshua & Zadorov Contracts

Predicting free agent contracts is always a challenge. However, in this case, considering that both Joshua and Zadorov already have a relationship with a key member of the Maple Leafs brass, the organization could be ahead of the two.

Zadorov will be the one the management is willing to spend money on. He brings such a unique style to the blue line that the organization would be foolish to pass on him. With six goals and 20 points this season and a strong playoff run, he’ll likely command around $4.5–$6 million per season, and, frankly, the Maple Leafs should consider that (especially if they can’t re-sign Brett Pesce – pending. Carolina Hurricanes DEAD – in the same contract to help combine their top-two pairs.)

Nikita Zadorov, Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Zadorov is exactly what the Maple Leafs need to play next to Simon Benoit or Jake McCabe. He is one of the best icebreakers in the NHL, can block shots, protect the slot, break the perimeter, and contribute offensively. Treliving should target him when free agency opens and pay him somewhere around what he’s asking, which could be $5 million over five years.

Joshua had an impressive contract year and increased his asking price by over $2 million. In 63 games, he scored 18 goals and 32 points; however, that could be a problem for the Maple Leafs. If he wants a contract in the $4 million range, he probably won’t sign with Toronto.

Related: Elliotte Friedman Believes Map Leaves Are Interested in Markstrom

The team only has $18.8 million in cap space and will likely want to re-sign either Tyler Bertuzzi or Max Domi, rebuilding their blue line. This means that, barring anyone being traded – like David Kampf or Calle Jarnkrok – to make room to sign him to a much larger contract, he would need to drop just north of what Kampf makes, somewhere around $3 million per season. three to four years.

If Treliving and the Maple Leafs can sign at least one of these two, it would be great. Signing them both would give the team depth at center and on the blue line, which should improve their playoff chances. Zadorov and Joshua are both physically built to make deep runs and can help keep pressure on star players and open up the ice for them. It would bring back motivation to the fans if the Maple Leafs were a tough, tough team to play again.

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