Rumor/Video: Russian Defensemen To The Maple Leafs

Originally rumored in mid August 2017 when Mike Babcock and Lou Lamoriello travelled to Russia to meet with CSKA Moscow ‘s top free agent defender, this rumor has again gained traction.

Tonight on Hockey Night In Canada, Elliotte Friedman announced that sources in Russia say Igor Ozhiganov, is Toronto bound in the fall of 2018

If you are not familiar with Ozhiganov, let me fill you in. Igor is a big boy at 6’2”, 214lbs. He has a big frame and is not afraid to use it. As a junior player he racked up an enormous amount of penalty minutes, which is rumored to have steered scouts away from him in his entry draft eligible years. As he refined his game as a pro in the KHL he has gotten the PIM under control, however, never shy’s away from the rough stuff.

At 25 years old, Ozhiganov has been a perennial plus (+/-) player for the majority of his career and is reliable in his own end.

In the offensive end he is not noted for creativity or exceptional hockey sense. However, he does have decent hands and a booming shot from the point. A shot hard enough to win the KHL’s hardest shot contest last season.

As a player who seems to fit the mold of the Brian Burke era Leafs, this may come as a surprising move by current management. However, as this writer will remind you, truculence is not a dirty word. Giving the opposition a hard time in front of Freddy Andersen or making life miserable in the corners in the leafs end, is a defensive skill set which is noticeable absent on the blue line with the exception of an aging Roman Polak who is also slated for Unrestricted free agency next season.

With the Maple Leafs last KHL signing, Zaitsev, arguably being the Leafs best all around defensemen thus far this season, Leafs Nation may be able to look forward to another addition from mother Russia.