When the season started, Los Angeles Kings star defenseman Drew Doughty sent waves across the National Hockey League when he not only mentioned he could sign elsewhere, but also when he added that the Toronto Maple Leafs were just one quality defender away from being true Stanley Cup contender. Quickly, fans imagined the Kings blue liner in a Leafs jersey and trade chatter joined in.
However, since then, Doughty has been reassuring Kings fans that he is happy in L.A. and looking to stay with the team, which has become better and better, and meanwhile, the Leafs have started to scour the market to land help on the back end.
And then : a bomb is dropped!
Larry Brooks of the New York Post is asking the controversial following question: could Mike Babcock's coaching style see the Maple Leafs part ways with one their higher-skill players to acquire a much-needed defenseman?
And we're talking William Nylander for Ryan McDonagh...
"There is no arguing against Babcock’s résumé that features a Stanley Cup victory, a pair of Olympic gold medals and a World Cup title — though his tenure in Detroit ended with just a single playoff round victory his final four seasons — but the Maple Leafs, though decent enough this season, have turned into just another team," writes Brooks.
"Which would appear to make it more conceivable that a party such as the Rangers might be able to pry Nylander away as part of a blockbuster that would send a defenseman as stout as Ryan McDonagh the other way."
Nylander, who is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, has nine goals and 33 points in 49 games this season, and could come and help the Rangers, who have lost Chris Kreider to injury and are looking to build a stronger future.
TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie did reveal last week that the Rangers would at least be willing to listen to offers involving McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello, who each have one season remaining on their current contract.
Through 43 games this season with the Rangers, McDonagh has amassed 22 assists, and registered a plus +22 rating.
Would you pull the trigger on what would be the deal of the trade deadline?