NHL Rumors: Leafs Player Recruits Zadorov While On The Ice

The Toronto Maple Leafs were able to knock off the Calgary Flames in a 5-4 shootout Friday night, but it was another poor defensive effort. It appears that the Toronto players are well aware that Flames' hulking defenseman Nikita Zadorov could be available due to his expiring contract. To the point that one Leaf started recruiting him in the middle of the game. 

NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman reports, on his 32 Thoughts podcast:

The word going around on Sunday night, is that a Maple Leaf player said to Zadorov on the ice, "You're exactly what we need." Someone told me they heard it said on the ice, (after Zadorov) delivered a big hit on Tyler Bertuzzi. 

(Zadorov's agent) Dan Milstein basically said, "Buy your tickets in Toronto, he could be here."

Milstein posted the Zadorov hit on Bertuzzi on Twitter, calling for more ice time for his client, and the trade request followed shortly thereafter. 

Friedman added that he was not told exactly who the Leafs player was who did the on-ice recruiting, and the Flames were not talking about it. The hulking defenseman played less than 16 minutes that night against the Leafs, down from his usual 18-19 minutes per game (with several games over 20 minutes earlier this season. 

The only thing Calgary has said about this, says Friedman, is that if there is  a Zadorov trade, it'll happen on their terms and their timeline, not on the player's schedule. 

The Flames went on to another disappointing loss Saturday night in Ottawa, 4-1 to the Senators, with Zadorov registering 17:39 time on ice. 

Zadorov isn't one to mince words, so we'll be following him closely in the days to come.