Maple Leafs, Senators in the market for defencemen

On this edition of 32 thoughts, Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discuss the New York Rangers closing in on a deal to acquire Patrick Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks and provide an update on some of the big names on the trading block.

Could we possibly see a Battle of Ontario when it comes to adding blueliners ahead of the upcoming 2023 NHL Trade deadline?

Both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators are continuing their respective searches for a defenceman, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

“I don’t know if they’re shopping in the same places, but I do think they’re both shopping,” Elliotte Friedman said Saturday during the 32 Thoughts segment of Hockey Night in Canada.

The Senators have some salary cap flexibility and the potential to add some term and Friedman suggested Ottawa is looking more for a blueliner that can play on the right side.

Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion has made two trades in the past week. The first was sending Tyler Motte to the Rangers for fellow forward Julien Gauthier and a conditional 2023 seventh-round pick. The second was a salary dump when he sent Nikita Zaitsev, plus a 2023 second-round pick and 2026 fourth-round selection to Chicago for future considerations.

The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, may not be quite as picky when it comes to handedness since left-shot T.J. Brodie can play effectively on either side of the ice.

Toronto bolstered its forward group by adding Ryan O’Reilly at just 25 per cent of his salary and Noel Acciari in a three-way trade with the Blues and Wild a week ago, but are now looking to potentially improve the back end.

Friedman added that teams in the market for a defenceman are hoping the surplus of available blueliners will end up benefiting the buyers.

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