Last night, defenceman Jake Muzzin made his Toronto Maple Leafs debut.
They acquired Muzzin in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings. Muzzin is 29 years old (he’ll be 30 on February 21st) and has the big body (6’3″ 213 Lbs) that the Maple Leafs have been missing on their back end.
Muzzin’s Hockey Career To This Point
Muzzin played for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the Ontario Hockey League before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 5th round of the 2007 NHL draft. He never ended up being signed by Pittsburgh, so he returned to the OHL as an over-aged player. In 2010, he signed as a Free Agent with the Los Angeles Kings. He would go on to help the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2014 with a 12 point performance (6 Goals and 6 Assists) in their playoff run.
The Woodstock native also played in the 2015 IIHF Would Championship and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, winning Gold in both tournaments. During the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, he played under coach Mike Babcock, who just so happens to be the Toronto Maple Leafs current bench boss.
The trade to Toronto is the first time that Muzzin has been traded in his hockey career and it allows him to play for the team he cheered for growing up. In order to make the trade happen, the Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas had to give up his 2019 1st round pick, Carl Grundstrom and Sean Durzi. The draft pick will be a late round pick somewhere between 20th – 31st depending on how well Toronto does in the Playoffs. Grundstrom is projected to be a top 9 winger and it’s still too early to predict how good of a defenseman Durzi will turn out to be. The best part about this trade was that Kyle Dubas didn’t have to give up a roster player or any of our top prospects.
Recapping Muzzin’s First Game As A Leaf
Muzzin played his first game as a Toronto Maple Leaf on Friday. Overall, it wasn’t a terrible debut. He finished the game with 18:08 minutes of ice time. He played most of the game on the top pairing with Morgan Rielly. Muzzin had an even +/- rating and had 2 blocked shots. Just like most players who get traded to a new team during a season, it’ll take the defenceman a few games to become comfortable with his new team.
All-in-all, Leafs fans should not expect a ton of points from Jake Muzzin, but they should expect hits and blocked shots. Plus, he brings a lot of playoff experience and will most likely be looked upon for inspiration come playoff time.
stats from NHL.com and hockey-reference.com
featured image photo credit – Josh Tessler