It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the rumor mill leading up to the NHL’s trade deadline on March 2nd. Most recently, of course, we saw the Leafs pull off their first, but not last trade, of the season. With speculation abound regarding the future of players like Daniel Winnik, Tyler Bozak, Phil Kessel, and Dion Phaneuf, it seems like one name may be overlooked. Roman Polak, who has been a serviceable blueliner for the Leafs this year, is apparently beginning to garner some interest. According to a report from the Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek, Roman Polak is among the defensemen coveted by the Los Angeles Kings.
This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Polak carries a miniscule $2.750 million cap hit, can play on a team’s second or third pairing, and is set to become a free agent in the summer of 2016. With the Leafs rebuild officially under way and the team set to clear out older bodies on expiring deals, Polak is a logical candidate to be moved at some point within the next year by Toronto.
The Kings, of course, could really use a guy like Polak. With the future of Slava Voynov in question, the Kings have relied heavily in Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, and Alec Martinez this season. They’ve played well, but the Kings don’t seem to trust any other defenseman they have. Robyn Regehr, Matt Greene, Brayden McNabb, and Jamie McBain have been used sparingly by Darryl Sutter this season. And strapped by big deals handed out to virtually any core piece not named Tyler Toffoli or Tanner Pearson, the Kings could use a guy that comes on the cheap.
Take this with a grain of salt of course. The Leafs are already rumored to be moving out big pieces if not this season then this summer. While the Leafs should try and get as young as possible, you do need some established guys playing for your team. It might make more sense for the Leafs to look at moving Polak closer to next year’s deadline. But, if the price is right, this could be something to keep your eye on.