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How Will The Toronto Maple Leafs Replace Jake Muzzin?

With Jake Muzzin's cervical spine injury, the Toronto Maple Leafs may find themselves more involved in the trade market for an NHL defenseman.
Jake Muzzin

The Toronto Maple Leafs blueline suffered a significant blow with defenseman Jake Muzzin sidelined indefinitely with a cervical spine injury. 

He will be re-evaluated in February, but his absence is raising questions over whether they'll turn to the trade market for help.

GM Kyle Dubas told reporters that he'll turn to young blueliners such as Timothy Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin to step up before turning to the trade route. If the Leafs GM does go shopping, he could find the pickings slim for a quality shutdown rearguard.

Sportsnet's Jeff Marek mentioned John Klingberg and Kevin Shattenkirk as possibilities. His colleague, Elliotte Friedman, doesn't think those Anaheim Ducks defensemen are what the Leafs need. Friedman also noted the rumors linking the Leafs to Jakob Chychrun but raised concerns about his injury history and the Arizona Coyotes' high asking price.

The Athletic's Jonas Siegel wondered if pending unrestricted free agents such as the Washington Capitals' Dmitry Orlov, the Ottawa Senators' Artem Zub or the New York Islanders' Scott Mayfield could become trade options. However, they're unlikely to be available at this stage in the season with the standings still in flux.

Assuming those defensemen do hit the trade block, it probably won't happen until the weeks leading up to the March 3 trade deadline. That could come too late to help the Leafs. 

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