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NHL Rumors: The Toronto Maple Leafs And How They Could Address Their Salary Cap Situation

Looking at some ways that would help the Toronto Maple Leafs with their salary cap situation.

Ways to help out the Toronto Maple Leafs salary cap situation

Luke Fox of Sportsnet: Looking at five ways that Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas could help alleviate some of their salary cap issues.

1. Let their free agents walk – pending UFAs include Jake Gardiner, Ron Hainsey, Tyler Ennis, and Martin Marincin. Igor Ozhiganov is a pending RFA.

2. Trade a roster player or two – William Nylander has a $6.96 million cap hit through 2023-24 – Frontloaded contract paying out $20 million by July 2nd. The St. Louis Blues and Carolina Hurricanes have kicked tires before, and maybe the LA Kings and Minnesota Wild could have interest this offseason.

Patrick Marleau – $6.25 million cap hit for one more year – a 35+ deal so can’t buy out. Has a full no-movement clause. July 1st he gets a $3 million signing bonus and his salary is only $1.25 next year.

Nazem Kadri – $4.5 million cap hit through 2021-22. Reasonable contract and provides nice depth. Can they trust him after two playoff suspensions?

Connor Brown – $2.1 million cap hit for one more year. His name will likely be in the rumor mill again at the draft.

Nikita Zaitsev – $4.5 million cap hit through 2023-24 – He’s their only regular right-handed defenseman and hasn’t lived up to the contract the Lou Lamoriello gave him.

3. Bridge, trade, or let an opponent offer-sheet the RFAs – RFAs include Andreas Johnsson, and Kasperi Kapanen.

Contract talks with Johnsson this winter didn’t go well and he’s arbitration eligible. Kapanen isn’t arbitration eligible.

4. Find someone to take on Nathan Horton‘s contract – will need to add a sweetener to a team looking for help to get to the salary floor.

5. Embrace cheap labour – Below a $1 million they have Trevor Moore, Calle Rosen, Frederik Gauthier, Justin Holl, Nic Petan and Garret Sparks, but will need more.

Comparables for Marner are $10.5 and below

Chris Johnston of Sportsnet: Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas last week on free agents and Mitch Marner.

“Without an answer on Mitch, we’re going to kind of be in a stalemate, right?” Dubas said Thursday. “It is a top priority because we’re not going to jump around and chew up our cap space that we may need for Mitch with fringe signings, either. It’s important. We’ve just got to get to work on it and get it done.”

The Leafs need to tie up the Marner situation before July 1st and offer sheet season. There is some skepticism around the league that Marner would get an offer sheet of $11 million or more.

Winger comparables – Patrick Kane ($10.5 million), Alex Ovechkin ($9.54 million), Nikita Kucherov, Mark Stone and Jamie Benn ($9.5 million).

Marleau plans on being back next year

Luke Fox of Sportsnet: The 39-year old Patrick Marleau plans on playing next season for the Maple Leafs.

“I haven’t heard otherwise. It’d be good to be back and continue with this group,” Marleau said. “The results weren’t what I expected or what I’ve come accustomed to. That’s on me, and I know I can do better.

“So, it’s an opportunity to come back next year and prove that I still have it, and I feel confident in my abilities to do that.”

Marleau realizes the contract situation the Maple Leafs are in and knows that he could be approached about his trade protection.

“Then we’d have to cross that bridge,” Marleau said. “It’s tough to speculate.”

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