The Toronto Maple Leafs are reportedly set to ship out one of their few controllable defenders.
The Leafs and the Ottawa Sentors have agreed to a deal that would send Nikita Zaitsev to the Senators in exchange for Cody Ceci.
There may be other parts to the deal yet to be revealed, and it can't be completed until after Toronto pays Zaitsev his $3 million signing bonus on July 1.
Zaitsev, who still has five years left to go on his seven-year, $31.5 million contract, finished his 2018-19 campaign with the Leafs managing just 14 points in 81 games. Moving him does, however, free up space for a potential Mitch Marner deal.
Though he doesn't quite replace the point production of Ceci, who tied a career high with 26 last year, he gives Senators a blueliner under control for the foreseeable future as they continue their rebuild.
Upon the completion of the deal, Toronto will be left with just one defenseman under contract past next year in Morgan Reilly.
Ultimately, it seems to be a simple swap of defenders that gives Ottawa some stability on defense and Toronto a relatively productive blueliner and the chance to polish of a contract with Marner.