TORONTO — Nikita Zaitsev is currently visiting friends in Toronto but intends to return to the KHL next season, according to a source.
The Maple Leafs are believed to have interest in the 23-year-old defenceman.
However, Zaitsev has one year left on a deal with CSKA Moscow and plans on honouring it.
There have been recent discussions between the NHL and KHL about the possibility of allowing players under contract to jump to North America in exchange for a development fee — as happens with other European countries — but deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Sportsnet on Thursday that no changes have been made to the transfer agreement.
Zaitsev has spent six seasons in the Russian-based league, putting up 12 goals and 32 points in 57 regular-season games last season.
He is expected to be in training camp with CSKA starting July 3.