The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenceman Nikita Zaitsev, forward Connor Brown and forward Michael Carcone to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for defencemen Cody Ceci and Ben Harpur, forward Aaron Luchuk and Columbus's third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft
The deal became official after the Leafs paid Zaitsev’s $3 million bonus Monday.
Zaitsev asked for a trade at the end of last season and blasted the Maple Leafs organization and fan base during an interview conducted in Russian after the team was eliminated by the Boston Bruins.
The Leafs' blueliner also ripped into Hockey Night in Canada host Don Cherry, calling him a clown for making critical comments about his usage rate throughout the regular season
During the 2018-19 season, Zaitsev posted three goals and 14 points in 81 games.
Zaitsev's contract is one of the main points of contention, as he holds a $4.5 million cap hit for every season through 2023-24. However, Zaitsev’s contract will likely help the Senators meet the salary cap floor.
Ceci notched seven goals and 26 points in 74 games, posting a minus-26 rating on a Senators team that struggled throughout the 2018-19 campaign.
Cody Ceci has already received a qualifying offer, and a team trading for him could not walk away from that if he chose to sign it. It is, however, very rare for a player to simply sign their QO.
— Draglikepull (@draglikepull) June 29, 2019
Brown collected eight goals and added 21 assists for the Leafs last season, but is two years removed from a 20-goal campaign. The 25-year-old has proved capable of playing up or down in the lineup over his career.
Harpur, 24, skated in 51 games for Ottawa last year, tallying one goal and four assists with a minus-13 rating.
Luchuk split 2018-19 between the ECHL’s Brampton Beast and AHL’s Belleville Senators.
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