NHL Trade Rumor: Maple Leafs trade Nikita Zaitsev and Kasperi Kapanen to Carolina

According to TSN's Pierre LeBrun, the Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes could be the perfect fit for a big trade. The deal could work itself into an even bigger deal, including draft picks and multiple pieces from both teams.

The trade would include the Maple Leafs trading disgruntled d-man Nikita Zaitsev along with RFA Kasperi Kapanen heading to Carolina for RHD Dougie Hamilton and a prospect.

Zaitsev demanded a trade earlier this week and the contract talks with Kapanen aren't going to plan for Maple Leafs GM, Kyle Dubas. Trading both players would help balance out the cap, if Dougie Hamilton is the return as Hamilton makes $5.75 million over the next two seasons.

With Kapanen reportedly demanding roughly $4 million per season, this trade helps the Leafs acquire someone to replace Zaitsev, which would be a huge upgrade, and it alleviates some dollars from the salary cap crunch.

Thoughts on the deal? Hamilton has been rumored to the Maple Leafs since the day Brian Burke traded for Phil Kessel and according to Pierre LeBrun his name maintains the connection to his hometown team.

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