Jake Muzzin can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, but the defenseman said Monday that he'd be happy to remain with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"The organization, the way they look after us, the guys here, the buzz in the city about hockey is huge," Muzzin told TSN. "Being close to home is always a nice touch, especially with a little one around now, so there's lots of good things here and I'd love to stay here."
Muzzin, acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 28, 2019, is in the final season of a five-year contract he signed with the Kings on Oct. 15, 2014. He will be in the lineup when the Maple Leafs play the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Monday (8 p.m. ET; TVAS, FS-TN, TSN4, NHL.TV) after missing 10 games with a broken foot sustained against the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 27.
"It is what it is, it's a part of hockey," Muzzin said when asked about his contract. "I'm just focusing on tonight and getting back into the game and getting this team rolling on the right page."
His return is key for the Maple Leafs (25-17-7), who were 4-3-3 in his absence and are without defenseman Morgan Rielly for a minimum of eight weeks because of a fractured foot. Muzzin has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 38 games. He's averaging 21:21 of ice time per game, second among Toronto defensemen behind Rielly (24:15).
A Stanley Cup champion with the Kings in 2014, Muzzin has 242 points (59 goals, 183 assists) in 564 regular-season games in the NHL and 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in 57 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
"In many ways, he's the conscience of our team," Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said Sunday. "[He] speaks a lot, has great presence and great experience.
"He means so much on our back end."