Rumour Report: Leafs about to make major moves

Rumblings continue to grow in Toronto with several major deals expected in the coming weeks.

Nikita Zaitsev will be out the door shortly after making public his request to be traded. His 5 year contract will prove difficult for teams in a cap crunch, but the Leafs are likely to take back a bad contract in return. The Blues have been linked to Zaitsev, but other teams are likely to surface. Some have suggested the Islanders and Lou Lamoriello, the man who brought in and extended Zaitsev while with the Maple Leafs, could be a fit.

With Jake Gardiner not expected back and Travis Dermott likely on the shelf to start the season, the Leafs are scrambling for help on the blueline. Ron Hainsey is likely to return short term, and there is help on the way from the farm team. But there are still big holes that need to be filled at some point.

Rumours suggest Alec Martinez, Colin Miller, TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Justin Faulk and Brett Pesce could be on the Leafs list of potential targets. The bigger the name, the likelier it is that the Leafs have to offer a top player like William Nylander, or prospects such as Timothy Liljegren or Jeremy Bracco.

Connor Brown is also likely on his way out. The Oilers and Hurricanes have been linked to Brown in the past, but many more teams are likely to inquire.

The Leafs would like to send away Patrick Marleau's $6.25 million cap hit elsewhere. The Leafs have had conversations with the Kings, who would be willing to take on Marleau if a bad contract with term goes the other way. The Coyotes and Avalanche are other rumoured possibilities.

And then there's those Mitch Marner rumours that won't go away until he's signed on the dotted line. But will that be with the Maple Leafs, or will it be an offer sheet with another team? The Leafs are expected to make a major push to sign Marner before July 1st, but all bets are off if it drags out beyond then.

Beyond the obvious core of John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Morgan Rielly and Frederik Andersen, the Leafs are willing to listen on just about anything. They simply have no choice - standing still is not an option for a team struggling to stay under the cap and remain competitive at the same time.

It's going to be a busy offseason for GM Kyle Dubas. Stay tuned.

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