Last week, the Calgary Flames played the Maple Leafs in Toronto. Immediately after the game, Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov reportedly requested a trade. The rumour was that he wanted to land in Toronto as his preferred potential destination.

Interestingly, the Maple Leafs are a team Zadorov allegedly “welcomes a move to.” Add to that rumour the fact that Zadorov’s former GM in Calgary, Brad Treliving, now is the GM with the Maple Leafs. Now what?

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Both the Maple Leafs and the Canucks Would Love to Have Zadorov

The Maple Leafs along with the Vancouver Canucks are said to be interested in getting Zadorov, who lacks a no-movement clause in his expiring deal. Zadorov’s agent Dan Milstein noted that the defenseman wants a change. In situations like this, often the Flames would do their best to move the player – in this case the 28-year-old Russian blueliner. But what does that mean to the Maple Leafs? Perhaps – and probably – nothing? Who knows?

Nikita Zadorov, Calgary Flames

In a surprising turn of events, the Maple Leafs players seem to be actively recruiting potential additions to their roster, and the recent focus is on Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov. The intrigue started with Zadorov’s agent suggesting a potential fit with the Maple Leafs. Now, there’s on-ice evidence supporting this narrative.

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Are the Maple Leafs Players Out There Recruiting Themselves

What is even more interesting (to me) is that the Maple Leafs players are trying to recruit during the game. Specifically, the rumour has emerged that an unnamed player had told Zadorov during the game that he was the kind of player the team needed.

So, here’s the question: “Are Maple Leafs players starting to recruit their future teammates?

On the 32 Thoughts podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman confirmed the rumour by revealing that a Maple Leafs player told Zadorov, “You’re exactly what we need,” after a thunderous hit on Toronto’s Tyler Bertuzzi. I’m assuming that doesn’t mean that the player wants someone to come in and beat on teammate Bertuzzi. Rather, it means that they’d love Zadorov to come in to give the same kind of physicality he brought during that game.

So Zadorov Then Asks for a Trade? Hmmm

After that game, Zadorov asked the Flames for a trade. Hmmm. Is there a correlation there?

I am unsure whether there are trade talks. However, Zadorov’s physical style and defensive capabilities could be the missing pieces for the Maple Leafs, even when defensemen Timothy Liljegren and Conor Timmins return from injuries.

Newcomer John Klingberg is struggling defensively, and it would seem that the Maple Leafs are exploring options. Could the 6-foot-6 Zadorov might be the answer? We’ll see where this goes.

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