The 2018-19 NHL season is in its second month, and many expect the Toronto Maple Leafs to make a legitimate run at their first Stanley Cup since 1967.
The talent level is high, with John Tavares and Auston Matthews, an excellent supporting cast and one of the best coaches in the league in Mike Babcock.
However, the Maple Leafs still don't have their full complement, as William Nylander's holdout continues. The timing is starting to get crucial for both the player and the team, as he can't return to the Leafs this season if the holdout continues past December 1.
The Leafs would obviously love to be able to call upon a 22-year-old forward who has scored 61 points in each of the past two seasons, but since both sides are holding on to their positions, a trade has to be considered.
Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas is not ignoring the possibility, and he has met with several teams, according to James Mirtle of The Athletic.
Mirtle identified one of those teams as the Minnesota Wild, as Dubas has had a face-to-face meeting with Wild general manager Paul Fenton.
A deal would make sense for the Wild since they could use more offensive creativity and scoring up front, while that team has depth on defense and could part with a blueliner. One of those skaters is Jared Spurgeon, who had 38 points in 2016-17 and 37 points in 2017-18. Spurgeon has eight points in his first 14 games this year.
The Leafs would like to keep Nylander, but if the contract stalemate continues, Dubas has to keep his options open, and the Wild appears to be at least a decent alternative.
The Los Angeles Kings' slow start has resulted in quite a bit of interest in defenseman Alec Martinez, according to multiple reports.
TSN NHL insider Darren Dreger said that Los Angeles vice president and general manager Rob Blake is certainly listening to other teams as they discuss Martinez but that the Kings are not prepared to move him at this point (h/t Nichols on Hockey).
However, the Kings are in last place in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference, and it may just be a matter of time before Blake comes to the conclusion that his team is not going to make the playoffs. In addition to the slow start, goalie Jonathan Quick had surgery on a torn meniscus, which is a blow to the team.
Martinez played a key role on the Kings' two Stanley Cup-winning teams, and he could strengthen any contender's blue line.
Edmonton Oilers forward Zack Kassian was not happy when he was recently named a healthy scratch, and he asked his agent to check in with general manager Peter Chiarelli.
When that happened, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman suggested on Saturday's Hockey Night in Canada that Kassian was unhappy with his role in the team (h/t the Hockey Writers).
Kassian has since attempted to clarify his position. "I didn't ask for a trade," Kassian said to TSN host Jason Gregor. "When I got healthy-scratched, my agent did his job and reached out to Peter to see what was up. I hadn't played well early but feel our line is coming on. I addressed my teammates, and I want to help us. We are in a good spot now."