The club appears to be the front-runner for the services of 25-year-old Russian Igor Ozhiganov.
“He’s going to be recruited by some NHL teams, but the word out of Russia is that he is most likely going to Toronto next year,” Friedman said during Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
The six-foot-two, 207-pound defenceman was never drafted to the NHL and is in his third season with CSKA Moscow of the KHL. His contract expires in April.
Ozhiganov scored 22 points in 50 games in 2016-17 to establish a career high in Russia’s top league. This season, though, he has just two assists in 18 games.
Leafs head coach Mike Babcock and general manager Lou Lamoriello reportedly visited Ozhiganov in Russia during the summer.