The Maple Leafs have finally bolstered their defense.
Toronto has acquired defenceman Jake Muzzin from Los Angeles in exchange for forward Carl Grundstrom, the rights to Sean Durzi and Toronto’s first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
.@SportChek Player Alert: The @MapleLeafs have acquired defenceman Jake Muzzin from Los Angeles in exchange for forward Carl Grundstrom, the rights to Sean Durzi and Toronto’s first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/3DYt3w0dc1
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 29, 2019
The 29-year-old Muzzin has been a rock in a struggling year for the Kings, posting four goals, 21 points and a plus-10 rating through 50 contests this season. In 496 career NHL games, the blueliner has registered 213 points (51 goals) and 298 PIM.
Muzzin has also played a key role in the Kings’ playoff success, recording seven goals and 20 points in 50 career postseason games. He was a Stanley Cup Champion in 2014.
Muzzin was originally selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the fifth round (141st overall) of the 2007 NHL Draft. He signed an entry-level contract with Los Angeles in 2010.
Kings Vice President and General Manager Rob Blake issued a statement about trading Muzzin, who had played with the Kings since the 2010-11 season.
“We feel this trade was necessary for the future of the organization,” said Blake. “Moving Jake was not easy as he has been a key player for us and a significant part of our most historic and memorable achievements. We are grateful for his contributions to the Kings and we wish him the best of luck in the future.”
Muzzin has a lethal shot and can be a reliable source of offense on the back-end, but he’s mainly known for his shutdown ability and physical play. He ranks 17th among all NHL defensemen with 111 hits this season.
The Maple Leafs are parting ways with forward Carl Grundstrom in the trade.
The 21-year-old Swedish winger is currently playing for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, where he has 13 goals and 29 points in 42 games. He was selected by the Maple Leafs in the second-round (57th overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft.
Grundstrom will be assigned by the Kings to the Ontario Reign (AHL).
Durzi was selected by the Maple Leafs in the second-round (52nd overall) of the 2018 NHL Draft. The 20-year-old has recorded 35 goals and 131 points in 171 career OHL regular-season games. He was traded to Guelph from the Owen Sound Attack earlier this month.
The trade comes during a difficult stretch for Toronto in which they have just four wins in their last 11 games.