The Toronto Maple Leafs pipeline into Russia may continue if the team’s front office has anything to say about it.
— Andrey Osadchenko (@AOsadchenko) August 23, 2017
Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock and general manager Lou Lamoriello found a diamond in the rough in Nikita Zaitsev. They’re hoping to strike gold twice with a player that hasn’t been on many people’s radars.
Igor Ozhiganov is a defenseman for CSKA Moskva in the KHL and has been with the team since the 2015-16 season. During the 2016-17 season, Ozhiganov played in 50 games and put in eight goals and helped out with 14 assists for a total of 22 points. A good clip for a defenseman in one of the best leagues in the world.
Since his contract with the team doesn’t expire until after the 2017-18 season, this is long-term planning from the Maple Leafs. Ozhiganov isn’t going to break any new records for the team but as a player that has shown constant growth, he is a good bet to contribute in the NHL.
Igor Ozhiganov, who is being linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 2018/19 season, is most famous in the KHL for this goal: pic.twitter.com/KhdlK5tiVa
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) August 23, 2017
It doesn’t hurt that he has silky smooth hands either.
For a player like Ozhiganov, the only contract that he would/should agree to is an NHL deal. With multiple prospects coming for the Maple Leafs, does he make sense? As a mostly finished product, he could allow for more percolation for Maple Leafs prospects and immediately jump in for the 2018-19 season. If reports are to be believed, this would be a stacked blueline with only more reinforcements coming.
Who said a glut of defenseman is a bad thing?
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