Reports out of Vancouver this weekend indicated that the Toronto Maple Leafs have an offer on the table for a Vancouver Canucks defenseman.
"It sounds to me like they do have something on the table for Erik Gudbranson — the Leafs are said to have offered a pick and Andrew (Neilsen)," The Province reporter Patrick Johnston revealed.
Gudbranson is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, and at $3.5 million this year, he represents a relatively low-risk acquisition who could pay dividends to a team gearing up for an interesting playoff run this season.
Gudbranson was the 3rd overall pick in 2010.
Neilsen is a left shot defenseman who was drafted by the Leafs in the 2015 NHL draft, at 65th overall. He had an excellent first season in the AHL in 2016-17, scoring 39 points from the blue line. His numbers aren't as impressive this season - but considering the size and edge he plays with, the 21-year-old could be an interesting prospect for Vancouver should they choose to pull the trigger on this deal.
It's unknown as of now what draft pick Toronto has offered in the deal.
Nielsen likes to drop the gloves, and as evidenced by this video, it's not easy to lay a hand on him.
Gudbranson is known for his mean streak as well.
Jim Benning, general manager of the Canucks, has some time to ponder over this offer. He is likely receiving calls from multiple teams for the hulking defenseman, and has over a month to process the offers and choose the best one.
OTHER NHL NEWS
Jaromir Jagr of the Calgary Flames is all but done in the Canadian market - he's been given permission to talk with other teams on a potential trade.
While the above tweet mentions European interest, Chris Johnston of Sportnet believes that it is more likely he finds a deal in the NHL rather than go back to Europe and eventually compete in the Olympics for the Czech Republic.
The possibility still remains that he returns to Europe - ending a long and historic era for Jagr in the National Hockey League.
The NHL has announced its coaching roster for the All-Star game on January 28th in Tampa Bay.
Speaking of Gerard Gallant, the coach is easily a frontrunner for the Jack Adams Trophy (coach of the year).
The Vegas Golden Knights continue to make history as the best expansion team in the history of the game, in their inaugural season anyway.
According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, the NHL is looking at making some tweaks to the All-Star Skills Competition - changing the target shooting drill to include a 5th target as well as sensors indicating which specific corners players must shoot at. Another change might put players' magical stick handling abilities on display in the relay race.
The All-Star weekend is quite gimmicky, and save for last year's edition in Nashville, the event has become a bit stale for most fans, much like outdoor games. It'll take bigger changes than these to breathe new life into it. The change to 3-on-3 hockey was a step in the right direction.