Fantasy Impact: The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired defenseman Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings for a 2019 first-round draft pick, prospect forward Carl Grundstrom and prospect defenseman Sean Durzi.
The Maple Leafs get: A No.3 defenseman with size, strength, playoff experience and some puck-moving skills. Muzzin has reached the 40-point mark in three of his five full seasons and is currently on pace for 34. He is also a 170-Hits, 125-BLKS guy, for those fantasy leagues who count those stats. Unfortunately, he is also a left-handed shot, and the Leafs have Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner and Travis Dermott each shooting left and capable of moving the puck. Early indications are that Muzzin will line up with Rielly, which is fine because in Los Angeles he lined up with Alex Martinez – a lefty shot. Muzzin is also locked in contract-wise for both this year and next, giving the Leafs two kicks at the can with him for that Stanley Cup charge.
The Kings get: A king’s ransom. Great return, although of course there are no guarantees. Besides the lower first-round draft pick, Los Angeles gets a couple of real solid prospects. I am a big fan of Carl Grundstrom, who made huge strides last season and seems destined to become an NHL second-liner.
As for Durzi, he was drafted in the second round last summer after posting more than a point per game in the OHL for Owen Sound. This season he picked up where he left off, against producing at a prolific rate that ramped up even further after his trade to Guelph. There will be a wait time of several years for the 20-year-old, but if brought along right he could be a solid fantasy asset.
Fantasy Players Impacted: If Los Angeles really does have a bit of a purge of players, Grundstrom could sneak his way into the lineup as early as next season. With the Leafs, Grundstrom had virtually no chance of entering fantasy hockey radars next season, but with the Kings he has an outside shot. More likely 2020-21 is the season to target for him, but that’s a full year ahead of where he would be in the Toronto organization. Again, provided he continues to make such strides. He should even get a cup of coffee with the big club this year.
Muzzin moves from a defensive squad to an offensive squad. One of the better ones, actually. And at the rate Rielly is scoring, Muzzin owners could make off like bandits here. But the Leafs generally roll with four forwards and one defenseman on their power play, and so while Muzzin will (theoretically) see a huge spike in ES points, his PP points should plummet. The two PP units will have Rielly on one and Gardiner on the other. He may eat a small piece of the Gardiner power-play pie, but not a significant piece. This takes away what little piece of the pie that Dermott gets.
Muzzin only has two of his 21 points coming from the power play, so it’s not like his PP production can get worse. So all in all, if the ES numbers spike then his overall numbers will. So this is definitely a boon.
As for Alec Martinez, he loses his partner and instead will probably get paired with, gulp, Dion Phaneuf. But that is offset by the additional PP time he will receive now that Muzzin is gone. So I would expect status quo overall from Martinez.
Read our scouting report on Grundstrom here
Read our scouting report on Durzi here
Fantasy players this helps, in order
2. Jake Muzzin
3. Morgan Rielly (but can he really do any better?)
Fantasy players this hurts, in order:
1. Travis Dermott
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