With the Maple Leafs suffering another First Round exit for the third consecutive year, and contract talks on the horizon, Toronto’s situation is certainly getting interesting.
Let’s start with the large contracts in place now, Tavares’ contract goes until the end of the 2024/25 season and has a cap hit of $11 million annually.
William Nylander, 22, made roughly $10.275 million this year in his first year of his contract, and is set to make $6.96 million until the end of the 2023/24 season.
Veteran Patrick Marleau, 39, is also set to earn $6.25 million this coming season, along with Auston Matthews coming off his entry deal is now set to make $11.634 million through the end of the 2023/24 season.
Also worth noting, there has been an interest in whether or not Nazem Kadri will be traded out of Toronto after facing yet another suspension against the Boston Bruins in the First Round for the second year in a row.
Kadri is set to bring in $4.5 million annually until the end of the 2021/22 season, certainly enough to free up some cap space for a player who will not be suspended at Kadri’s rate.
At the forefront of contract talks however, are youngsters Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen, and Andreas Johnsson.
All coming off their entry level contracts will be looking to make some serious money in their first big contract as NHL players.
Marner especially will be looking for the money he is worth, as he is coming off a career high 26 goals, and 94 points (led Toronto in points).
In my opinion, Marner should be looking for a deal similar to Tavares’ and Matthews’ as a twenty one year old, which may not be the smartest decision on the Maple Leafs part if looking to clear up cap space.
On Defense, Jake Gardiner and Ron Hainsey are both unrestricted free agents coming off $4.05 million, and $3 million respectively.
Only difference is that Gardiner is 28, and Hainsey is 38.
With Rielly set to make $5 million through the 2021/22 season, Muzzin set to make $4 million through the 2019/20 season, and Zaitsev set to make $4.5 million through the 2023/24 season, Toronto clearly not only has interesting decisions to make with their Forwards, but also their Defensemen.
More importantly, in the past few years, despite some goaltender issues this past season, Defense has been the main concern for the Maple Leafs which would explain why they elected to bring in Jake Muzzin from Los Angeles at the trade deadline.
Right now as a Leafs fan, Marner, Kapanen, and Gardiner would be my three biggest concerns.
If Toronto does not find a way to retain those players, a Stanley Cup run will become even more difficult for this team.
Certainly moving Kadri could clear up cap space and potentially improve their roster, however Toronto does not even have a first round draft pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft which can not be comforting either.
Difficult decisions need to be made by the Toronto Maple Leafs before July 1st, more updates are further to come for the Maple Leafs.
For advertising and sponsorship opportunities with The Game Changer Sports Network, please contact Jake at Jake.Jollymore@Gmail.com
Photo Source: http://www.edge.ca