For some time now, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been looking to add a defenseman before the trade deadline and now there might be an interesting twist to their quest.
TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger has revealed on Friday the the Leafs have likely made at least one call to land one specific defenseman.
"I'd be shocked if Lou Lamoriello hasn't called the Columbus Blue Jackets about Jack Johnson," Dreger told TSN Radio 1050 Toronto.
"We know that there's some upheaval there. Johnson doesn't feel like he's a good fit with the Blue Jackets any longer and he's asked for a trade - he's publicly talked about that."
Just a few weeks ago, it was announced that veteran defenseman and former first rounder pick Johnson had demanded a trade out of Columbus. The 31-year-old has seen his ice-time decrease and told head coach John Tortorella he has indeed requested to be moved ahead of the deadline.
"Now, is he a good fit for the Toronto Maple Leafs? You don't really know until you see that player in the lineup. I don't know for certain that there's been dialogue between Lamoriello and Jarmo Kekalainen but as I said, based on speculation, I'd be surprised if Lou didn't at least call.
"But if that doesn't pan out, then you look at who might be the next available defenseman and so on and so forth. And that's where it gets tricky because depth guys - and I mean depth - like seven/eight defensemen, they're relatively easy to grab a hold of via trade or even waivers. But that's not what Toronto needs. Toronto has that developing with the American Hockey League, we just talked about (Connor) Carrick and (Travis Dermott).
"What Toronto needs, is a solid No. 5 and maybe that player surfaces between now and the trade deadline, but there's no guarantee of that."
Johnson has two goals and seven points in 49 games with the Blue Jackets this season while averaging 19:33 of ice time per game. He is also a pending free agent and spoke last week on the trade request, saying he was "trying to do what's best" for his family.
The trade market is heating up. Imminent trade on the way?