According to reports, the Toronto Maple Leafs appear to be nearing a 7 year contract extension with Defenceman Nikita Zaitsev.
Assuming Zaitsev deal gets done, it would have to be AAV less than Morgan Reilly’s $5M AAV. If I were guessing, $4.5M, give or take $250K.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 31, 2017
The deal is still pending but the AAV is suspected to be around $4.5 million.
That is a lot of term for a player who’s only played 1 year so far, but that’s a pretty good contract, or will be a good contract should Zaitsev continue to be solid.
The plus/minus rating aside, Zaitsev has decent numbers. 33 points is good enough for 2nd on the team in point for Dmen. He leads the team in blocks, 4th in hits and tops in average ice time.
The stats may be a little poorer for having played much of the year against the other team’s top lines. It’s tough vs the Crosby’s and Bergeron’s of the world, especially for a 1st year NHLer.
This signing, should it come to fruition, will set up the Leafs well in terms of not breaking the bank on the team’s support personnel. Cap room is needed in future years for guys like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander. To lock up a key cog long term, without an extreme overpay is big kudos to the team’s front office.