I guess one way to be more like the Los Angeles Kings is to trade with the Los Angeles Kings.
The Toronto Maple Leafs swapped minor league forwards with Los Angeles this evening, sending Andrew Crescenzi to the Kings for right winger Brandon Kozun.
Kozun, 23, was drafted in the 6th round by L.A. back in 2009. Once a prolific WHL scorer with the Calgary Hitmen, Kozun has yet to reach the NHL yet, but has strung together a number of moderately successful AHL seasons with the Manchester Monarchs. In 43 games this season, Kozun has contributed 10 goals and 29 points. Some might also remember Kozun from his play with Team Canada at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championships (even though he was actually born in Los Angeles).
So why hasn’t Kozun reached the NHL yet? That probably has something to do, at least partially, with his size. According to his Manchester Monarchs official player page, Kozun stands 5’8, and weighs 162lbs. Saying he’s "diminutive" is probably an understatement.
Kozun makes $550,000 a year at the NHL level, and is an RFA this upcoming offseason. No official word yet, but we can safely assume Kozun will be joining the Toronto Marlies in the very near future.
In exchange, the Leafs are giving up on 6’5 centre Andrew Crescenzi, who Toronto signed as an undrafted free agent back in September 2010. Crescenzi has never been known as much of a scorer, and only had a goal and two assists in 30 games so far this season for the Marlies.
While there’s no guarantee that Kozun will ever be an NHL player, acquiring him for Crescenzi is a pretty big win for the Toronto. It’s good to see Leafs managements dealing from a position of strength (see: middling defensive forwards) to address other areas of weakness (see: skilled forward prospects).
(Photo: Circling The Wagon)