Sounds like the Maple Leafs are on the verge of landing a very intriguing prospect.
Nikita Zaitsev, the 24-year-old rearguard out of the KHL, is reportedly telling teams he’ll be signing with Toronto for next season, per Sportsnet.
Zaitsev has previously been linked to the Leafs, after spending all of his professional career in Russia with Novosibirsk Sibir and, over the last three seasons, league powerhouse CSKA Moscow.
Undrafted by any NHL club, Zaitsev has been a staple of various Russian national teams, including the 2011 squad that captured gold at the World Juniors.
This year, he’s enjoying a pretty successful offensive campaign — he has 24 points through 40 games, putting him 12th in the KHL among d-man scorers.